Hundreds of potentially Covid-infected Sydney residents were left to wander the streets for four days after an embarrassing contact tracing error,.
NSW Health issued an alert for the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, southwest Sydney – infamous for being the epicentre of an outbreak with 65 infections in just ten days last year.
Customers who were there on Wednesday evening were told to get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days regardless of their result.
However, the alert was actually meant for the Crossways Hotel on Liverpool Road in Strathfield South – 25km away – at 7pm to 10.30pm on the same day.
Not only were Crossroads patrons needlessly forced into isolation, Crossways drinkers who could have been exposed were not safely locked down or tested.
NSW contact tracers have often been credited with being the ‘gold standard’ which keeps Australians safe, but as the new Bondi breaks tip well over 100, their abilities are being stretched.
The Crossroads Hotel at Casula (pictured) in Sydney’s southwest was wrongly identified as an exposure site, after being the centre of an outbreak in July 2020
The Crossways Hotel on Liverpool Road in Sydney’s southwest was not flagged as a Covid exposure site for four days
The Crossways Hotel in Liverpool is 25km away from the Crossroads Hotel in Casula (pictured) – but somehow the two vaguely similar names baffled contact tracers
NSW Health announced the error as 17 venues added to Sydney’s latest Covid-19 exposure sites on Sunday, sending hundreds of people into ever stricter isolation.
The new alerts include two major shopping centres, Mexican restaurants and busy make up stores across the city.
The list of new stores flagged by NSW Health early on Sunday afternoon in the the inner west, CBD, and in the Covid-ravaged eastern suburbs.
Earlier on Sunday, the state recorded 30 new infections bringing the total number of cases to 112 – the day after Sydney and surrounding areas were plunged into a two-week lockdown.
Pictured: Health workers doing Covid-19 tests at the St. Vincents Hospital drive-through testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney June 26 amid latest outbreak, which has grown to 112 infections
Anyone who was at Fonda Mexican restaurant (pictured) at Bondi Beach on June 18 between 1.50pm and 2.45pm has been told to contact NSW Health immediately
Anyone who was at Fonda Mexican restaurant at Bondi Beach on June 18 between 1.50pm and 2.45pm must contact NSW Health immediately, get a test, and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.
The same advice applies to people who went to Mad Mex or Roll’d Vietnamese at Pacific Square in Maroubra, or Establishment Bar on George Street in the Sydney CBD – all at various times on June 23 and 24.
Likewise for residents who visited Precinct 37 café in Annandale between 10.30am and 11.15am on June 24, or Orange Supermarket in Rhodes on June 22 between 6.30pm and 6.40pm.
Three busy shops in the ritzy suburb of Double Bay have also been added to the list, including two make up stores where a Covid-infected person shopped on Sunday, June 20.
People who went to Mad Mex in Maroubra (pictured) on June 23 and 24 has also been told to isolate
Anyone who was at Mecca Maxima or Mecca Cosmetica (pictured) between 3.30pm and 4.15pm has been told to isolate until a negative test is received
Anyone who was at Establishment Bar on George Street in the Sydney CBD (pictured) on June 23 and 24 should isolate and get a test
Anyone who was at Mecca Maxima or Mecca Cosmetica between 3.30pm and 4.15pm must isolate until a negative test result is received.
The same goes for people who went to Cali Press in Double Bay on June 21, Fresh World fruit shop or Pacific Square in general in Maroubra at various times between June 23 and 24.
Coles in Marrickville Metro has also been added to the growing list of exposure sites, with residents who visited the popular retailer on June 23 or 24 ordered to isolate until a negative test result is returned.
Visitors to Liquorland at Marrickville Dewall on June 24 were given the same advice.
When speaking at a press conference on Sunday morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new infections are all linked to the Bondi cluster in Sydney’s east.
Police were roaming Bondi beach to ensure anybody out and about was exercising and following lockdown orders
One of the people linked to this cluster includes a Virgin Australia flight attendant who tested positive after working as a crew member on five flights between Brisbane , Melbourne , Sydney and the Gold Coast on Friday and Saturday
She denied delaying the city-wide lockdown to save face after previously stating she would never take such drastic measures again.
Ms Berejiklian thrust the city into a two-week lockdown as cases spread further away from the eastern suburbs, and on Sunday Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant gave no guarantee that the lockdown would be lifted on July 9 as scheduled.
Of the 30 new cases, 10 are linked to the Great Ocean Foods seafood wholesaler in Marrickville. This brings the total number of cases acquired through that cluster to 11, as well as the original case who worked there during their infectious period.
One of the people linked to this cluster includes a Virgin Australia flight attendant who tested positive after working as a crew member on five flights between Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and the Gold Coast on Friday and Saturday.
Sydney streets were deserted on Sunday, the first full day of lockdown
Western Sydney residents were spotted exercising at Parramatta Park on Sunday, the first full day of Sydney’s two-week lockdown
That crew member is now in isolation while Virgin works to contact every team member who would be considered a close contact.
‘Virgin Australia is requiring those crew members to cease flying, get tested and isolate. All passengers on flights the crew member operated will be contacted by health authorities and advised on the correct protocol,’ it said.
Eleven of the 30 new cases were in isolation for their entire infectious period, while three were quarantined for most of their infectious period.
Another newly detected case attended the Westmead Hospital vaccination centre on June 22 without realising they were infectious, and subsequent contact tracing revealed they were a close contact of a previously known case.
‘As a precaution we have called the people that attended that vaccine centre in a period before and after the case,’ Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.
Police are conducting random stops (pictured in Parramatta on Sunday) to ensure people are complying with lockdown orders
A Virgin flight attendant (not pictured) also tested positive for the virus on Saturday night after potentially being infectious on five flights through Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne
But Dr Chant said there was every possibility the stay-at-home orders could extend beyond the scheduled two week period.
She would be comfortable lifting lockdown if, toward the end of the two week period, new cases were only being identified in close contacts already in isolation.
‘If we all take this very seriously (and) we maintain those testing numbers, then two weeks may be sufficient,’ she said.
Locals are only allowed to leave their houses for four reasons, which include for school or work if unable to do so from home, medical reasons including to get the vaccine and to give care, for essential shopping and to exercise outside in groups of no more than ten.
‘There is no curfew. You can leave your home at any stage to purchase any essential goods that you need to and that is a given. Be thoughtful and considerate about fellow citizens and no need to panic buy,’ Ms Berejiklian assured the public on Saturday.
‘I said that this the scariest time since the pandemic started and that’s proven to be the case.’
Regional NSW will follow restrictions that were previously placed on Sydney which include having only five visitors at a house, wearing masks indoors, hospitality venues reduced to one person per square metre and outdoor venues reduced to 50 per cent capacity.
NEW EXPOSURE SITES IN SYDNEY ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Contact NSW Health, get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result:
Bondi Beach: Fonda Mexican Restaurant – Friday June 18, 1.50pm to 2.45pm
Rhodes: Orange Supermarket – Tuesday June 22, 6.30pm to 6.40pm
Maroubra: Mad Mex – Wednesday June 23, 6.10pm to 6.40pm and Tuesday June 22, 6.10pm to 6.25pm
Marboubra: Roll’d Vietnamese at Pacific Square – Wednesday June 23, 6.30pm to 7pm
Sydney: Establishment Bar on George Street – Wednesday June 23 to Thursday June 24, 11.30pm to 3am
Annandale: Precinct 37 Cafe – Thursday June 24, 10.30pm to 11.15am
Get tested and self-isolate until a negative test is received:
Bondi Beach: Fonda Mexican Restaurant – Friday June 18, 2.45pm to 3.15pm
Elizabeth Bay: Allied Mart – Sunday June 20, 10am to 11.30am
Double Bay: Mecca Maxima – Sunday June 20, 3.30pm to 4.15pm
Double Bay: Mecca Cosmetica – Sunday June 20, 3.30pm to 4.15pm
Double Bay: Cali Press – Monday June 21, 9.30am to 10.20am
Marrickville: Coles, Metro Shopping Centre – Wednesday June 23, 12.30pm to 1p, and Thursday June 24, 3.30pm to 4pm
Maroubra: Coles at Pacific Square – Wednesday June 23, 6pm to 6.15pm
Marrickville: Liquorland Marrickville Dewall – Thursday June 24, 3.30pm to 4pm
Maroubra: Roll’d Vietnamese at Pacific Square – Thursday June 24, 6.20pm to 6.30pm
Maroubra: Fresh World fruit shop at Pacific Square – Thursday June 24, 6.20pm to 6.30pm
Maroubra: Pacific Square (all stores in shopping centre, other than specific venues listed) – Wednesday June 23, 6pm to 7pm, and Thursday June 24, 6pm to 7pm
Source: NSW Health