'Wake up call': Premier issues warning over virus 'seeding'

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned residents in the state to be on “high alert” and urged those in border communities not to leave their towns.

“Don't move out of your border communities at this time unless you absolutely have to,” she said.

“This is for your own safety and wellbeing but also for the safety and wellbeing of other residents across both states.”

Ms Berejiklian said the health teams were in the process of “mopping up potential seeding” after a huge spike in cases in Melbourne in recent weeks.

On Tuesday, Victoria recorded 191 cases – its highest daily total since the pandemic began, with Ms Berejiklian calling the surge “a wake up call to everyone”.

Gladys Berejiklian addressing the media on Thursday. Source: ABC
Gladys Berejiklian addressing the media on Thursday. Source: ABC

She said a significant number of people from border communities had travelled back and forth between Melbourne prior to the border closure and the focus is on weeding out any community transmission in NSW.

“We want to make sure that we're flushing out any potential seeding that occurred prior to that spike in cases becoming evident,” she said.

Four-hundred tests were performed in Albury on Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian confirmed, with a further two cases in the town confirmed.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said they were the third and fourth confirmed cases in Albury and were previously declared to the media as “probable cases”.

New restrictions 'still a possibility'

Ms Berejiklian said she would not hesitate in implementing “other options” if there is an increased level of community transmission.

“If we happen to need to change something in the next few days and weeks, because it's still a possibility and I want to make that very clear,” she said.

“I wanted to be very clear yesterday that all of us are on high alert and every resident in NSW should feel on high alert.

“You should be extra careful. You may have had some contact with someone from Melbourne and not known about it.

“Please make sure that when you're out and about, working or socialising, that you maintain that social distance, whether you're eating out or whether you're doing other types of activity.”

According to Ms Berejiklian, 18,500 people near the border were tested in the last 24 hours.

And despite an “extremely low rate of community transmission” detected, she said authorities would not find out the true extent of the spread until several weeks have passed.

“We won't know for a few weeks whether there's been any level of community transmission bubbling away under the surface, as can happen easily, as Melbourne has demonstrated,” she said.

There was a further 11 cases announced in hotel quarantine.

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