Another 10 cases will be added to the cluster and beaches will be closed as NSW and Victoria announce new restrictions on flight crew coronavirus quarantine

Sydney’s coronavirus cluster on the northern beaches grew to 28 people as of Friday, including one person who traveled to Queensland after testing positive

New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian urged all of Sydney to “be on high alert” saying it was “crazy” to take public transport, buy groceries or visit a place of worship without a mask

Genome sequencing has revealed that the outbreak is an international strain of American origin that could be linked to a woman who died on Jan. Returned to Australia December and is still in hotel quarantine

On Friday morning, Berejiklian said another 10 people had tested positive on the northern beaches since 8 p.m. Thursday, and one person in Queensland who was linked to the cluster

The Prime Minister said “a few people” from other parts of Sydney visited two northern beaches that were the main spread events of the outbreak, which meant they could spread across the city

“They went back to their homes in other suburbs,” she said, “Outside of Avalon and the northern beaches there is potential seeding”

Later on Friday, authorities announced that 21 beaches in the north of the city would be closed

The state’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant said the northern beaches outbreak was an international strain of American origin

She said early results showed it was “similar” to a returned traveler who died on Jan. December was placed in hotel quarantine and was still being treated

Health Secretary Brad Hazzard said the woman tested positive in hotel quarantine and was taken to a health hotel where she was staying, saying it was not certain that she was the original source of the infection

“The work continues to determine what this person’s connection would have been like,” he said, “There may have been intermediates”

“I’m afraid we haven’t found the direct transmission route and we can’t be sure we blocked the transmission line,” she said

Hazzard and Berejiklian both implied that the Sydneysiders had given up their vigilance during the weeks of no community transmission, although it was shown that no one associated with the outbreak was in breach of guidelines

Hazzard said he had seen “creeping complacency” and “avalanche” of complacency among Sydney residents

Berejiklian told reporters, “Everyone in Sydney needs to be on high alert … Nobody should get on public transport without a mask, nobody should go to a grocery store or place of worship without a mask. It would be just crazy for people to do these activities without a mask would perform ”

Hazzard, who lives on the northern beaches, said he had a Covid test Thursday and self-isolated while waiting for the negative result, exempting him from being asked to be an “essential worker” at home to stay

Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the woman who tested positive in Queensland has since returned to NSW

Jeannette Young, the state’s chief health officer, said the woman was in her fifties on Jan. Flew to Brisbane Airport on a Virgin flight on December 12 and wore a mask on the flight. She said she was “most concerned” about a lunch the woman had at the Glen Hotel on Eight Mile Plains

She also traveled to the Sunshine Coast, but Young said that, apart from a hotel receptionist, she “didn’t have much contact there”

“We are confident that we will find anyone who has come in contact with this person,” she said

Queensland announced that anyone who came to the state on Saturday after being out since May 11 December in the Northern Beaches region had to go into hotel quarantine for 14 days December were on the northern beaches have to self-isolate at home or in their accommodation

Police said they would randomly stop cars and hit all flights to Queensland to see if people had come from the northern beaches

A plane that came into North Queensland on Friday had 12 people who had been on the northern beaches, police said

Victoria and Western Australia also said arrivals from the northern beaches should be placed in hotel quarantine and advised all of their residents to avoid traveling to any part of New South Wales

In NSW, Berejiklian also announced that the state would change its policy on international air crew quarantine in Sydney Victoria quickly followed suit
As of Tuesday, all crew members will be quarantined in just two designated hotels, “as opposed to 25 or 26,” said Berejiklian

“There was a flight crew from a few weeks ago who broke isolation and went to venues,” she said

“The problem is not the guidelines we have Unfortunately, there are a couple of instances where people have broken the guidelines or actually chosen not to self-isolate when they should”

NSW police later reported that 13 crew members had been fined for violating quarantine requirements after being fined Jan. Arrived December on a flight from South America

Chant clarified that there were no other cases related to a van driver working at Sydney Airport transporting flight crews to and from their hotel quarantine

The Southwest Sydney man tested positive Wednesday, making it the first locally acquired case in the state since Jan. December

Chant said the man’s close contacts tested negative and are still in self-isolation. She said genomic sequencing showed his strain was also “most likely a US strain,” which “is in line with hypothesis” that he caught the virus from the international flight crew


World News – AU – Sydney’s Northern Beach Covid cluster grows to 28 as Prime Minister berates the public through masks