Sydney childcare centre shut down as staff tested for coronavirus
A childcare centre in Sydney has been shut down over fears staff have contracted coronavirus.
The Banksia Cottage, which is across the road from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge aged care facility in Macquarie Park where a female worker tested positive for coronavirus and an elderly woman has since died, has been closed after several staff members reported feeling unwell.
NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard confirmed at a press conference on Thursday some of the centre’s children and staff had visited the aged care facility in late February.
Seventeen children who made the visit on February 24 – the day the female worker first displayed symptoms but was not working – will now undergo testing for coronavirus on Thursday.
Mr Hazzard said at this stage none of the children had shown any signs of illness.
One of the staff members and their partner have displayed respiratory illness, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said.
Families and their children related to the centre have been invited for testing on Thursday.
Mr Hazzard said there was no evidence at this stage to suggest the children either brought the virus to the aged care centre or contracted it there.
“There was some suggestions publicly that in some way those children might have either brought in the virus or perhaps got the virus,” he said.
“But there is no indication at the moment that has necessarily been the case.”
Australia enacts South Korea travel ban
On Wednesday, NSW Health confirmed a 95-year-old woman at the aged care facility died after contracting coronavirus.
She is the second person to die from coronavirus in Australia as the outbreak continues to spread across the nation with more than 50 confirmed cases.
In response to the rise in cases, Prime Minister Scott Morrison implemented a travel ban for people coming from South Korea on Thursday. It is now the third country to have such restrictions, joining China and Iran.
There has been more than 5700 confirmed cases in South Korea and 35 deaths.
"We've got ahead of it early and we intend to stay ahead of this," Mr Morrison said on Thursday.
He said the decision to restrict passengers from South Korea and not Italy was because Australia receives five times the amount of travellers from South Korea than the European nation.
Mr Morrison did however implement enhanced screening measures for travellers arriving from Italy.
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