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NSW authorities on alert after second new case of coronavirus uncovered in Sydney

A second new case of COVID-19 has been detected in Sydney, sparking a scramble to stop any further community spread.

NSW Health on Wednesday afternoon announced a man in his 60s, who has not recently travelled overseas but has worked as a driver transporting international flight crew, had tested positive for the virus.

Then late on Wednesday night, NSW Health revealed it had been notified a household contact of the man in his 60s had also tested positive.

The list of exposure sites on Wednesday night included a cinema, cafes and department stores at Bondi Junction, plus venues in Vaucluse and North Ryde, and a bus service.

Anyone who was on the 200 bus that departed Bondi Junction for North Sydney on 15 June at around 4:25pm must immediately call NSW Health, get tested and self-isolate for 14 days from the date they were on the bus, regardless of the result.

An updated list of exposure sites can be found on the NSW Health website.

Urgent investigations into the source of the infections and contact tracing are underway, as is genome sequencing.

In response to the first new case, Queensland and Western Australia put restrictions in place for interstate travellers.

Anyone in Queensland who has been to one of the declared COVID-19 exposure sites during the risk period specified is now automatically required to quarantine.

“We will be closely monitoring the situation in NSW over coming days,” Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

“It’s important that anyone who has been to these venues in Sydney follow the advice of NSW Health, and not travel.

“If you have been to any of these sites and are already in Queensland, you must immediately travel by private transport directly to your home or accommodation and quarantine.”

WA’s Chief Health Officer Andrew Robertson said anyone who had visited NSW’s exposure sites at the specified times should get tested immediately for COVID-19, quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure and then present for a day 11 COVID-19 test.

“NSW Health is in the process of contact tracing the case and will notify WA Health if any close or casual contacts are found to be in Western Australia to allow for appropriate public health follow up to be taken,” he said.

“Any risk to WA remains very low but, again, the situation highlights the importance of remaining vigilant to prevent any spread of the virus or community transmission in this State.

“We will continue to monitor the situation in New South Wales very closely, as we do when any cases of this nature emerge, and will issue updated health advice if required.”

It comes as NSW Health investigates the source of a COVID-19 case diagnosed in hotel quarantine which has an identical viral sequence to two cases staying in an adjacent room.

The department said on Tuesday night it was unclear how and where transmission occurred from a couple to another returned traveller who were all staying on the fourth floor of the Radisson Blu quarantine hotel.

Genomic sequencing has shown all three cases have identical viral sequences of the Alpha strain (B.1.1.7).

The couple, who were asymptomatic, tested positive to COVID-19 on 3 June, NSW Health said in a statement.

The other returned traveller returned a negative test on 3 June before subsequently developing symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19 following a test on 5 June.

The three cases were transferred from the Radisson Blu to the Special Health Accommodation, where they remain.

All three cases arrived into Sydney on the same flight from Doha on 1 June and stayed in adjacent rooms in the quarantine hotel.

“Early possibilities as to where transmission may have occurred from the couple to the secondary case include on the flight, on transport from the airport to the hotel, in the lobby of the hotel, or while in quarantine.”

NSW Health said there was no evidence of further transmission.

“Out of an abundance of caution, all returned travellers who were on the same floor of the Radisson Blu hotel between 1 June and 5 June and were subsequently discharged are being contacted and asked to get tested and isolate at home pending further advice from NSW Health.”

All staff who worked on the fourth floor of the hotel between 1 June and 5 June have been asked to get tested and isolate pending further advice.

Source: sbs