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Fears of a new Sydney coronavirus outbreak as care home worker tests positive

Fears of a new Sydney coronavirus outbreak as care home worker tests positive – as top scientist says ‘the clock is ticking’ to stop a NSW COVID-19 explosion

A staff member at a Sydney care home has tested positive for coronavirus, sparking fears of yet another COVID-19 cluster. 

The employee at Ashfield Baptist Homes aged care in Sydney’s inner-west dined at the Thai Rock Restaurant in Wetherill Park, which has since been linked to 26 cases. 

Other staff and residents at the facility are now in isolation and being tested for the deadly respiratory infection, New South Wales Health said in a statement.    

‘The risk to other staff and residents is considered to be very low as the staff member wore masks, gloves and gowns when working with residents and did not work while symptomatic,’ the statement said.

Ashfield Baptist Homes has since been closed to the public pending test results.

It comes as Mary-Louise McLaws, an epidemiologist and World Health Organisation advisor admitted the clock is ‘ticking’ on New South Wales authorities to get the virus under control.

‘It’s hard work,’ she said on ABC on Wednesday.

‘And that’s why, I think, it could help to prevent the spread if everybody wore a mask in public until they get a handle on all of those potentially exposed people and put them in isolation.’ 

Prior to the outbreak at the Crossroads Hotel, which first began when a traveller from Melbourne dined at the venue, New South Wales was close to ‘eliminating’ the virus. 

‘It had so few numbers outside those in quarantine at the hotel for returned travellers that we were doing very well. I believe that NSW can get back to that level but it will be a challenge, from a different perspective from Melbourne,’ she said. 

More to come.