New mystery Covid case of concern as tracers search for 'missing link'

Seven new cases of coronavirus have been reported for NSW, with six having known links to the Northern Beaches cluster.

Five of those people were already in isolation, premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Sunday, explaining their positive result was obtained “very late on in the isolation process”.

“This demonstrates how important it is to stay in isolation the full 14 days if you have been asked to do so,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The case under investigation is a firefighter from the Northern Beaches with links to the Belrose Hotel, a known location visited by a positive case.

“So the case we had in the firefighter was locally-acquired and under investigation is that of a resident in the Northern Beaches who had attended the Belrose Hotel,” Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

Contact tracers are still working to determine patient zero in the Northern Beaches. Source: AAP
Contact tracers are still working to determine patient zero in the Northern Beaches. Source: AAP

She said a male worker at the hotel in his 20s had tested positive after being infected two or three weeks ago, but tracers were unsure how he acquired the illness.

“So whilst he was tested on 23 December, when we looked and undertook serlogical testing, that's a blood testing of getting a better understanding of his time of infection, it indicated he had been infected about two to three weeks ago,” Dr Chant said.

“And then when we take a history from him as well as his mother, he had a very transient illness associated with a very short period of fever on the 10th of December.”

Dr Chant subsequently urged anyone who visited the Belrose Hotel between 12m and 6pm on December 11, irrespective of whether they have or had symptoms, to get tested.

“And then generally if you have been to the Belrose Hotel and have the most minimal of symptoms, please get a test any time in December and even if you historically had an illness that you think in retrospect might have compatible with Covid, please get a test and please isolate until you get that negative test.”

Restrictions change after Christmas

The stay-at-home order imposed on residents of Sydney's northern beaches has been reinstated after the conclusion of Christmas festivities.

More people will also have to isolate, with new alerts issued for venues in North Sydney, the city's inner west, Centennial Park, northern beaches and some public transport services.

NSW recorded nine new locally-acquired cases of Covid-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, from almost 40,000 tests. Eight of them were connected to the 116-strong northern beaches cluster.

After a three-day reprieve for small indoor Christmas gatherings, the northern beaches has from Sunday returned to restrictions barring indoor gatherings.

But outdoor get-togethers of up to five people on the northern end of the peninsular are permissible, as well as outdoor gatherings of up to 10 on the southern end.

People may neither enter nor exit the local government area.

For the rest of Sydney as well as Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, 10-person private gathering restrictions again apply.

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