Coronavirus: Tighter restrictions loom as patient zero identified

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Further restrictions could soon be rolled out in NSW, according to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as the state looks to get on top of a growing cluster in Sydney’s southwest.

“There is definitely room for us to consider what else might be considered a high-risk activity and consider how we curtail some of that risk," she said on Wednesday.

There are now 34 coronavirus cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak in Casula.

While Ms Berejiklian has said her government is reluctant to plunge Sydney back into lockdown following the rise in community transmission, on Tuesday she reduced the limit on groups inside hotels by half to 10 after health authorities deemed the hospitality environment as an area in which the virus can easily spread.

Cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel continue to rise. Source: AAP
Cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel continue to rise. Source: AAP

More than a dozen hospitality venues across Sydney have now been linked to the outbreak.

The state government will now look to identify further measures that can be implemented across NSW to ensure authorities are capable of containing clusters that will continue to arise.

While it appears a Melbourne-style lockdown at this stage is off the cards, Ms Berejiklian said NSW needs to keep an eye on the situation across the border to help shape the state’s response.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard described the current situation as like “a war zone”, while Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said she is “far from relaxed”.

“This is a critical period for us and I need the co-operation of the public,” she said.

Dr Chant said she was particularly concerned over the ability of some patients linked to the cluster to develop symptoms in just 24 hours, despite the incubation period lasting up to 14 days.

"It gives you very little time for the contact tracers, because you've got to get your cases diagnosed and then you've got to lock down those contacts,” she said.

"If you've got a sore throat today, don't wait for two days to get it diagnosed. Work with us. Go get tested day one because every day you can give us allows us to to stop that spread.”

Cluster’s ‘patient zero’ confirmed

NSW Health also confirmed the "patient zero" of the outbreak was a Melbourne freight company employee who attended the Crossroads Hotel on July 3 for a work party.

Six of his colleagues have since caught COVID-19.

The man entered NSW on June 30, before its border with Victoria closed.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told residents not to expect the state to frequently have zero COVID-19 cases as the virus can bubble away under the surface for some time.

"This virus will continue to transmit slowly through the community and from time to time we can fully expect (this)," he told reporters.

with AAP

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