- A Sydney hotel quarantine worker tested positive for COVID-19 this morning, ending the state’s 26-day streak of no new infections
- The woman is employed as a cleaner at the Novotel and Ibis hotels in Darling Harbour, though it’s not yet certain how she contracted the virus
- New South Wales health authorities are now conducting contract trading after it was discovered the woman travelled from Minto in Sydney to the hotel complete using public transport and while potentially infectious
- Still, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state’s COVID-19 restrictions are still set to ease next Monday as planned
- Queensland’s borders will stay open to New South Wales despite the new case, though it’s uncertain if Western Australia will still open its borders next week
- NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said at this point in time, he’s not “overly fussed” about the latest case
A Sydney hotel quarantine worker tested positive for COVID-19 this morning, ending the state’s 26-day streak of no new infections.
The southwest Sydney woman was a cleaner at the Novotel and Ibis hotels in Darling Harbour. As it stands, New South Wales health authorities say it’s not clear yet exactly how the woman contracted the virus.
The new infection comes as state borders begin to open in time for Christmas and COVID-19 restrictions start to loosen across Australia.
Nevertheless, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the easing of COVID-19 rules will still go ahead next Monday despite the new case. However, she flagged that this is an “evolving situation” and she would not hesitate to change her mind if health officials advised her to do so.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said at this point in time, he’s not “overly fussed” about the latest case.
“We would’ve been saying today was our 26th day — it is our 26th day — without any cases, but we now have one case,” Minister Hazzard said.
“We’re in the middle of a pandemic. One has to expect it,” he said.
He added that while authorities are still trying to get to the bottom of how the infection was transmitted, he is confident the source will be found within the next two days through genome sequencing.
Meanwhile, NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the woman was potentially infectious while travelling from Minto in Sydney to Central Station. She then took the light rail to the hotel complex in Darling Harbour. It’s unclear how many people she may have come in contact with during the commute.
NSW health authorities are taking on contact tracing. Allegedly, the woman’s five family member all took a COVID swab overnight and have returned negative results.
What about the borders?
While some coronavirus restrictions are slated to lift in New South Wales next week Monday, border rules between states have only just started to lift.
Queensland officially took down its hard border against New South Wales earlier this week. Western Australia said its own hard borders on NSW and Victoria will come down on Tuesday, December 8.
However, this was contingent on there being no COVID-19 outbreaks in either state before then.
As such, with the new community case in New South Wales, its unsure if WA Premier Mark McGowan will backtrack and keep the Western Australian border sealed shut.
So far, the WA Premier has not commented on the new case and what it means for the state’s borders.
It’s likely WA health authorities will wait for more information from New South Wales’ health experts before making a decision as the situation unfolds.
Nevertheless, Queensland’s borders will stay open. QLD Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said in parliament this morning there are currently no proposed changes to the state’s border restrictions despite the new NSW case.