WA, Tasmania, Victoria issue health alerts in response to new Sydney virus case


Tasmania, Victoria Western Australia have issued travel alerts in response to the new coronavirus case in NSW.

On Sunday NSW lost its 55-day streak without any coronavirus cases after a Sydney hotel quarantine worker tested positive to COVID-19.

The 47-year-old man, who received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine earlier this month, tested positive on Saturday night – prompting urgent contact tracing identifying six potential hot spots in the city.

Western Australia’s Department of Health has now issued health advice for travellers who recently returned to Perth from New South Wales following the detection, including the need to quarantine if they visited specific venues.

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WA’s Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson said while the risk is deemed to be low, any Western Australians who visited Bexley Anestis Aquatic Centre between 9 and 9.30am and Pancakes on the Rocks restaurant between 10.45am and midday on Saturday March 13 should get tested immediately and quarantine until March 27 – 14 days from March 13 when the case was considered to be infectious.

The man also caught a train from Hurstville, in Sydney at 6:30pm on Friday 12 March and then from Sydney to Hurstville, leaving at 7:00am on Saturday March 13.

Meanwhile Victoria Health confirmed it will be contacting all arrivals into the state who entered via Sydney using data captured by the Travel Permit System.

Similarly, anyone who visited Pancakes on the Rocks between 10.45am and midday on Saturday March 13 must get tested and immediately quarantine for 14 days.

“Anyone now in Victoria who visited this site at the designated times will be treated as a primary close contact and is required to quarantine for 14 days,” Victoria’s health department said in a statement.

On Sunday evening, NSW added more venues to the possible exposure sites including a Coles, and Hudson’s Coffee Shop in Hurstville various times between March 8 and 10.

He also visited a Hudson’s Coffee, 7-Eleven and Dae Jang Kum Korean restaurant in Haymarket on March 13 after leaving the pancake restaurant.

The updated list of potential virus hot spots can be found here.

Dr Robertson said similar to yesterday’s positive case in Queensland, NSW Health was contact tracing the case and would notify WA Health if any close or casual contacts were found to be in Western Australia.

“We believe any risk to WA remains very low,” Dr Robertson said.

“We will continue to monitor the situations in Queensland and NSW very closely and will issue updated health advice if required.”

Tasmania Health officials also issued a swift response to the virus case, calling on anyone in the state who have been at any of these locations specified by NSW Health at the dates and times listed to self-isolate immediately and phone the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Details of how the case leaked into the community have yet to be determined.

The security guard works as a security guard at two COVID-19 hotels for overseas travellers – the Sofitel Wentworth in Sydney’s CBD and the Mantra hotel at Haymarket. He also has a full-time job in an office.

“The guard was vaccinated on March 2, which was obviously good news,” health minister Brad Hazzard said on Sunday.

“But you should be aware the antibody reaction required from vaccination doesn‘t get confirmed, or doesn’t achieve its maximum, until sometime after the first and second vaccinations.

“So we would expect he would be due for another vaccination in the next week or so. As we have said all along, vaccination helps but it does not necessarily stop you getting the virus.”

Four household contacts of the man have recorded negative results. Contact tracers are also racing to determine whether any colleagues at the man’s full-time job were exposed, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant confirmed.

“This gentleman does have another workplace, and we are just looking at that,” Dr Chant said on Sunday.

“The advice we have had is generally that person resides in an office-based setting, but we are checking with various key cards and other things to track the movements and identify the potential.

“Obviously we will alert the public if there is any risk to the public associated with that workplace, but as you can imagine, the staff are working currently very hard to get this information out to the public.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday confirmed the NSW hotel worker who contracted COVID-19 was partially vaccinated before testing positive to the virus.

Mr Morrison confirmed the revelation after receiving a second Pfizer dose himself on Sunday, but played down fears.

“The individual in this case was vaccinated. But this is important point: the vaccination is not immediate,” he told reporters on Sunday.

As many as 130 people have potentially been exposed.

Continue the conversation @RebekahScanlan | rebekah.scanlan@news.com.au





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