News, Culture & Society

Coronavirus Sydney: Cluster IS linked to Melbourne second wave

The strain of coronavirus detected in Sydney’s pub cluster has been genomically linked to Victorian cases, confirmation the NSW outbreak originated in Melbourne.

The revelation came as a link was confirmed between Black Lives Matter protests in Melbourne and the cluster of cases in public housing towers in the city’s north-west.  

Cases associated with the Crossroads Hotel, in Casula in Sydney’s south-west – the centre of the NSW cluster – reached 30 on Tuesday night.

NSW Health confirmed genomic testing shows a Blue Mountains resident who dined at the pub on July 3 is linked to Victoria’s outbreak. 

Confirmed cases from the Crossroads Hotel, in Sydney’s southwest, reached 30 on Tuesday night

Pictured: The Sydney venues feared to be at the centre of COVID-19 outbreaks

Pictured: The Sydney venues feared to be at the centre of COVID-19 outbreaks

Health officials said the genomic sequence detected ‘has not been seen before in NSW,’ The Daily Telegraph reports. 

The Crossroads outbreak has spread to the nearby Kmart where an employee tested positive for COVID-19, while two cases have been linked to Planet Fitness gym just one kilometre away. 

All patrons of the Crossroads Hotel between July 3 to 10 must self-isolate and are being urged to get tested. 

While the source of the outbreak has yet to be identified, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the investigation demonstrates there is ‘no doubt’ the Victorian outbreak has spread to NSW. 

It’s understood authorities are examining truck and logistics companies linked to Victoria to identify patient zero.    

Victoria recorded 270 new cases on Tuesday, tipping total cases nationwide over 10,000, with 21 people in intensive care.

Tests are carried out at a pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic at Victoria Park in Picton on Tuesday

Tests are carried out at a pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic at Victoria Park in Picton on Tuesday

Meanwhile, health officials have confirmed a link between two coronavirus-positive people who attended Melbourne’s Black Lives Matter rally last month, and the cluster of at least 242 cases in public housing towers in the city’s northwest.

But the Department of Health and Human Services hasn’t revealed whether the two protesters live in the housing commission buildings. 

Health officials said a source of any interconnected clusters hadn’t been determined yet.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he was sceptical the protesters caught the virus at June 6 protest.

More than 10,000 people defied public health warnings to attend the rally in the CBD.

Premier Daniel Andrews and the Department of Health advised people to ‘consider other ways to show support’ but agreed with Victoria Police’s decision not to issue fines.

Health officials confirmed a link between two coronavirus-positive people who attended Melbourne's Black Lives Matter rally, and the cluster of cases in public housing towers in the northwest

Health officials confirmed a link between two coronavirus-positive people who attended Melbourne’s Black Lives Matter rally, and the cluster of cases in public housing towers in the northwest

The Department of Health and Human Services hasn't revealed whether the two coronavirus-positive Melbourne protesters live in the locked down housing commission towers (pictured)

The Department of Health and Human Services hasn’t revealed whether the two coronavirus-positive Melbourne protesters live in the locked down housing commission towers (pictured) 

Meanwhile, NSW Health are investigating a potential new cluster that could be forming after an infected man spent an hour at a restaurant in Belfield, in Sydney’s south-west, on Friday.  

NSW Health is now contacting customers who dined at Mancini’s Original Woodfired Pizza at the same time.

The restaurant will close for three days to undergo deep cleaning.  

The NSW premier on Tuesday night said she has no plans of putting Sydney into lockdown again despite worrying clusters developing.

‘Until we have a cure, we have to live with it. We cannot shut down every time we have a cluster of cases,’ Ms Berejiklian told A Current Affair. 

NSW Health are investigating a potential new cluster after a coronavirus-positive man spent an hour at Mancini's Original Woodfired Pizza in Belfield, in Sydney's southwest, on Friday

NSW Health are investigating a potential new cluster after a coronavirus-positive man spent an hour at Mancini’s Original Woodfired Pizza in Belfield, in Sydney’s southwest, on Friday

‘We cannot keep shutting down, reopening, shutting down and reopening. That is not a good way for us to manage the pandemic because it creates chaos for people.

‘It creates chaos for businesses who are employing people and it makes us lose confidence in the future.’  

But Ms Berejiklian announced a tightening of restrictions in response to the Casula outbreak with a limit of 300 people at pubs and hotels, and group bookings to be capped at 10 people.

It will be mandatory for pubs and hotels to download and register the COVID-19 safe plan and take down contact details of all patrons.

Venues with a capacity of more than 250 people will be required to have a full-time marshal on site to enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The changes don’t apply to clubs, restaurants or The Star casino and will come into effect from 12.01am on Friday.

Ms Berejiklian said it was ‘unrealistic’ to assume that there would be zero COVID-19 cases in the state.

‘I think what we are going to have to accept during the pandemic is that we are always going to have cases. We are always going to have outbreaks,’ Ms Berejiklian acknowledged.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday night said she has no plans of putting Sydney into lockdown again

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday night said she has no plans of putting Sydney into lockdown again 

A general view of the Alfred Street public housing tower which remains under tight lockdown in North Melbourne

A general view of the Alfred Street public housing tower which remains under tight lockdown in North Melbourne

CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 10,251

Victoria: 4,224

New South Wales: 3,505

Queensland: 1,071

Western Australia: 636

South Australia: 443

Tasmania: 228

Australian Capital Territory: 113

Northern Territory: 31

TOTAL CASES: 10,251

CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 1,864

DEATHS: 109

‘I don’t ever want to be in a situation again where we have to lockdown NSW. We’ve done that, we did it well, we came together and now what we need to do is keep working together.

‘Take the health advice, get tested, stay home … keep everybody safe.’

Although Ms Berejiklian made it clear she has no intention of shutting down NSW for a second time, she warned that everyone would need to make ‘sacrifices’.

‘I’ve not hugged my parents for months. That is a decision I have taken because I’m extra careful,’ she said.

‘All of us have to make sacrifices, all of us have to take actions to protect the wider community

‘But we also need to accept that children need to be educated, people have to go to work… we cannot be in lockdown forever and no community could be.’ 

Meanwhile, South Australia will delay its border opening with NSW, which was set down for July 20. 

In Victoria, Mr Andrews on Tuesday said it was too early to decide on further restrictions, noting metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire are just one week into a six-week lockdown.

He also confirmed Victoria’s last returned overseas travellers would finish hotel quarantine by Thursday.

International flights will continue to be diverted away from Melbourne indefinitely, meaning the state’s botched hotel quarantine program will stay suspended. 

On Tuesday Victoria recorded 270 new cases while a man and a woman in their 80s died in hospital, taking the state toll to 26.

‘It’s not as high as our biggest single day, but we haven’t turned the corner yet,’ Chief Prof Sutton told reporters earlier on Tuesday.

‘I hope to see that this week, but there are no guarantees.’

Latest coronavirus facts and figures  

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

* A man and a woman aged in their 80s have died of coronavirus in Victoria, taking the state’s toll to 26 and Australia’s fatalities to 110.

* Victoria recorded 270 new cases on Tuesday, tipping total cases nationwide over 10,000, with 21 people on ventilation in intensive care.

* NSW has 13 new cases and WA one, a 10-year-old boy in quarantine.

* Pubs in NSW will have patrons capped at 300 and must record contact details of every guest with 30 cases now linked to a venue in southwest Sydney. Meanwhile, residents from Liverpool and Campbelltown will be barred from entering Queensland.

* South Australia has cancelled its planned July 20 border reopening with NSW and the ACT.

* Immediate testing will be compulsory for all Victorians as soon as they land in WA, with travellers from NSW potentially next.

* Queensland will up its tough virus laws this week to include a penalty of six months’ jail.

ECONOMICS

* Australia had only 25,800 overseas arrivals in June, half of whom were returning residents, according to provisional ABS figures.

SPORT

* The Australian Nursing Federation has urged against AFL matches going ahead at Perth’s Optus Stadium this week, arguing the 30,000-strong crowd risks a WA outbreak.

* The Giants are ready to decamp NSW if the AFL says go, with player Nick Shipley already relocating from his western Sydney home to teammate Shane Mumford’s house.

* AFL clubs could face the prospect of six games in a five-week span in a bid to get through the coronavirus-impacted season.

* The A-league will still play out its 2019-20 season in NSW despite the latest outbreak but has prepared a ‘Plan B’ option to shift clubs to Queensland.

KEY DATES

* July 15 – NT to rule on if it will relax border restrictions with NSW.

* July 17 – International arrivals to WA will have to pay for their 14-day hotel quarantine.

* July 17 – NT will reopen its borders with quarantine for people from virus hotpots.

* July 18 – Returning travellers to SA and NSW to pay part of their hotel quarantine bill.

* July 31 – The earliest date Tasmania may open its borders to the mainland after delaying the move, previously planned for July 24

* August 1 – Tentative date for WA to lift all remaining restrictions, except border closures and access to remote Aboriginal communities.

AUSTRALIAN CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS

* Australia’s total number of cases is now 10,251 with 2308 cases active and 7835 people recovered

* The national death toll as of Tuesday is 110: NSW 49, Victoria 26, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3. (Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in the official tolls of both states)

GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS

* Cases: at least 12,910,357

* Deaths: at least 569,128

* Recovered: at least 7,116,957

Data current as of 1800 AEST July 14, taking in federal government and state/territory government updates and Worldometer.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk