Australia

NSW records no new coronavirus cases as authorities race to identify source of security guard’s infection

No further cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the NSW community after a security guard working at a Sydney quarantine hotel tested positive on the weekend.

NSW Health authorities are still trying to determine the source of the 47-year-old man’s infection, following “uncertainties” around the transmission.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilian told reporters on Monday she was “relieved” there had been no further community transmissions recorded, with more than 8000 people tested over the weekend.

“There is no evidence of widespread transmission,” she told reporters on Monday.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said authorities were reviewing CCTV footage of an infected traveller at the Sofitel in Sydney, where the security guard worked on 6 March, after genomic sequencing matched their infections.

Dr Chant said there was “not a clear and obvious breach” that explained what caused the infection. The guard had no symptoms and had followed the required protocols.

Authorities are continuing to test colleagues of the guard who worked at both the Sofitel Wentworth and Mantra at Haymarket hotels in inner Sydney and had received his first Pfizer vaccine jab.

He also worked at a Sydney apartment complex but Dr Chant said he’d had no direct contact with residents and the building had been cleaned.

Other venues the man visited had also been notified.

“There is also a large number of casual venues where we are asking people to monitor the symptoms and if they appear immediately to get tested and isolate until a negative result is received,” Dr Chant said.

The premier said NSW had reached its target on the vaccine rollout, with more than 35,000 vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine while nearly 2500 had received the AstraZeneca jab.

Over the next three weeks those who received the Pfizer vaccine will get their second dose, with the rollout starting on Monday in regional centres and hubs.

The end of the state’s 55-day COVID-free streak on Sunday prompted the NSW opposition to renew calls for the government to ensure all hotel quarantine security guards are employed full-time so they don’t work across multiple venues.

“Securing our quarantine hotels shouldn’t be a part-time job. The role security guards play in hotel quarantine is too important,” Labor health spokesman Ryan Park said.

“It’s no good building a fortress if we end up leaving the back door open. Hotel quarantine is meant to be a bubble. It’s not going to be effective if guards are forced to take other roles in other parts of Sydney to make ends meet,” he said on Monday.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.



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