An alert has been issued 280km away from Sydney’s outbreak with people who attended a shopping centre in regional NSW urged to get tested.
An alert has been issued 280km away from Sydney’s outbreak with people who attended a shopping centre in regional NSW urged to get tested.

Live Updates: Several fined for COVID breaches

The number of new cases in NSW may have dwindled, but one of today's infections has sparked a critical "second area of concern" for the state. See below for our live coverage:

 

 

Five Queenslanders fined for breaching stay at home orders

Queensland Police have issued a warning to residents in home quarantine to "follow their obligations closely", with five people fined for breaching stay at home directions in the last three days.

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has completed 186 home quarantine compliance checks since December 19, resulting in a 97 per cent compliance rate.

  • On December 19, a 31-year-old man was issued with a $1,334 penalty infringement notice (PIN) for failing to comply with COVID-19 border direction. Police allege the man was directed into home quarantine at his accommodation on Stradbroke Island and went for a walk on the beach. The man is now completing quarantine in a hotel over the Christmas period.
  • On December 20, a 61-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman from Northern Beaches were both issued a penalty infringement notice (PIN) for $1,334 after failing to comply with COVID-19 border direction. Police allege the couple left their accommodation on Main Beach to visit a nearby beach. They have since returned to New South Wales.
  • On December 20, police conducted a compliance check on a 34-year-old man who had been directed to home quarantine at a Woree address. Police will allege the man was not present at the time and was later located nearby. He was issued a $1,334 penalty infringement notice (PIN) and is now completing the remainder of his quarantine in a hotel.
  • On December 21, a 20-year-old Redland Bay woman was issued a $4,003 penalty infringement notice (PIN) for failing to comply with the border direction and lying on her border declaration pass. Police will allege the woman provided false information and did not declare she had returned from a declared New South Wales hotspot. The woman is now completing the remainder of her quarantine in hotel.
  • All five people have returned a negative COVID-19 test.

Assistant Commissioner Shane Chelepy said while the majority of people are doing the right thing, some people are choosing to blatantly disregard the rules.

"People quarantining at a private address need to take their obligations seriously and stay at home," Assistant Commissioner Chelepy said in a statement.

"Police will be conducting random checks on those people in home quarantine to ensure they are doing the right thing and not putting others at risk by going into public spaces.

"Those who are found to be flouting the rules and leaving their property could not only face a hefty fine, they are likely to be placed into hotel quarantine at their expense."

Chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said quarantine is Queensland's best defence for keeping COVID-19 out of the state.

"It's really disappointing to hear that people are not complying with their home quarantine notices," she said.

"I know it's an inconvenience, but it is absolutely vital.

"How would you feel if you ended up with COVID-19 and gave it to your grandmother?"

"I'm pleading with Queenslanders to follow the rules and keep up the great work of keeping Queenslanders safe."

Failure to comply with quarantine directions could result in on-the-spot fines of $1,334.

Providing false information on the declaration or entering Queensland unlawfully could result in a $4,003 fine.

 

Avalon man fined $1000 for allegedly breaking lockdown

NSW Police have fined a northern beaches man $1000 after he allegedly left the northern beaches - after a local lockdown was declared - and headed for the state's South Coast.

The 70-year-old attended a gym inside the Ulladulla Leisure Centre at around 3:30pm yesterday afternoon.

After signing in with his Avalon address, staff raised concerns with management and he was asked to leave the centre.

The alleged breach was then reported to the South Coast Police District.

Mayor Amanda Findley told the ABC he had been staying in the region before the northern beaches lockdown order was imposed, but that he should've been in self-isolation.

"We've had a visitor from the northern beaches who was supposed to be quarantining wherever they are, they didn't have to return home but stay indoors and not interact with the public," she said.

"This person has been completely and utterly inconsiderate."

The Centre was closed today as a precaution.

Residents of the northern beaches LGA who left the area on or since Thursday, December 10 must comply with the restrictions currently in place in the northern beaches, no matter where they're currently located.

 

More transport routes added to NSW alert list

NSW Health have issued a fresh round of public health alerts this afternoon, with a number of public transport routes among them.

A statement from the department also addressed the Victorian resident who tested positive to COVID-19 after being linked to the northern beaches cluster.

"This case presented for testing in Victoria on 20 December and the positive result was received on 21 December," the statement reads.

"They have been isolating since their return to Victoria. The family members of this case in Sydney are all in isolation and have tested negative to date."

Anyone who visited Oliver's Real Food, 31 Annie Pyers Drive, Gundagai on Friday, December 18 between 5:30pm and 6:05pm is considered a casual contact and must get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Another case reported today - a close contact a healthcare worker - travelled through Orange on Saturday, December 19.

Anyone who visited Orange Central Square Shopping on December 19 between 4:05pm and 4:15pm is considered a casual contact and should get tested if symptoms appear.

If you were at Paddington Alimentari Deli and Cafe in Hopetoun St, Paddington between December 17 and 19 you are now considered a close contact and must get tested for COVID-19 and isolate for two weeks from your visit.

And finally, if you travelled on the following public transport routes during the date and time indicated you should get tested immediately and isolate until you receive a negative result:

- Bus route M52 on Tuesday, December 15, boarding at Ryde, St Charles PS at 8:09am and arriving at Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Martin Place Stn Stand C at 8:46am.
- Bus route M52 on Tuesday, December 15, boarding at Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Museum of Sydney at 5:52pm and arriving at Ryde, St Charles PS at 6:34pm.
- Bus route M52 on Wednesday, December 16, boarding at Ryde, St Charles PS at 8:24am and arriving at Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Martin Place Stn Stand C at 9:06am.
- Bus route M52 on Wednesday, December 16, boarding at Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Martin Place Stn Stand C at 6:12pm and arriving at Ryde, St Charles PS at 6:55pm.
- Bus route M52 on Thursday, December 17, boarding at Ryde, St Charles PS at 8:25am and arriving at Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Martin Place Stn Stand C at 8:59am.

Four known cases of UK COVID-19 variant in Australia

Scientists have raised the possibility that the increase in transmission of the new UK virus variant could be due to children.

According to virologists at the Imperial College London, the new strain could make children - who are considered mostly low risk when it comes to COVID-19 - "as equally susceptible as adults".

Professor Kelly said there have been four cases of people with the new UK variant of COVID-19 returned to Australia so far.

"Our view is that this is a concern in the UK. Certainly, their scientific groups met overnight. It is a new variant of the virus," he said, adding the AHPPC (Australian Health Protection Committee) will "hopefully" provide more information later today in a statement.

"But here in Australia, we have our ways of dealing with people coming from overseas in terms of our hotel quarantine system, and that has been extremely effective."

In the UK, the new strain has been found in about 3000 of 69,000 people infected who have had genomic analysis, "mostly in a certain part of the country, in south-east England, London, surrounding areas".

"There are a range of reasons why a transmission and growth may increase. There seems to be an association with this new virus, but at the same time, it's winter, there are Christmas parties, there's Christmas shopping, a lot of mixing, all of those things are happening at the same time," he said.

 

'No evidence' new strain interferes with vaccine

Speaking of that UK variant, Professor Kelly said there's "no evidence at the moment that is has any effect on the severity of the illness from the virus".

"There is no evidence at the moment that it interferes with the vaccine," he continued.

"There is no evidence at the moment that it interferes with diagnostic tests.

"So, that's the truth of it. We're obviously looking closely. But at the moment there's no need for this to be a cause of us changing any of our arrangements here in Australia, or to be concerned about people coming from the UK."

 

Reason Australia won't shut the border to UK

Australia will keep its borders open with the UK - despite a new strain of COVID-19 mutating there - because it's a priority to bring Aussies who are still stranded there home.

"They're our number-one priority. They have been for a long time," Prof Kelly said.

"We've committed to get people back, whoever wants to come back, and the Australian Government is assisting many people, whether they're stuck overseas or whether they're wanting to come back to have those assisted flights and so forth.

"In terns of where those Australians are right now who want to come back, the UK is right up there as one of the major places."

 

Why Australia isn't rushing COVID vaccine

Professor Kelly is asked why Australia can't expect a coronavirus vaccine until March.

He responded that authorities are "continuing with all of our planning, as has been already outlined in our strategy for vaccines, including the prioritisation process, including specific arrangements and agreements with every state and territory".

"We're in the second round of negotiations on that…The plan is to have them completed in early January, those implementation plans," he said.

He added that there are "various components" to bringing a vaccine to Australia, including purchasing the vaccine and making "sure that they are coming to Australia".

The other reason we won't be following the UK and the US' lead is because we're not facing the same emergency, Prof Kelly said.

"There are several countries in the world that have emergency-use authorisation, because they have emergencies. I talked about the US earlier - 200,000 cases yesterday. They have an emergency. They need to get on with it," he said.

"Same in the UK. Same in Europe overnight. We are not going down that pathway because we don't have anywhere near that need right now."

 

Only 22 Australian in hospital with COVID-19

Professor Kelly said that hospitalisations in Australia "remain extremely low" - reminding Aussies to keep our numbers in mind when looking at the situations in the US and UK.

"In the US alone, there are over 200,000 people diagnosed yesterday. Their hospitals are absolutely chock-a-block full. Their ICUS are overflowing," he said.

"That is a very different situation here in Australia, even despite the hotspot that we've seen in recent times in the northern beaches of Sydney."

Prof Kelly added that of the 22 people in Australia in hospital with COVID-19, none are in intensive care and "therefore, of course, no one on ventilation".

 

Earlier:

Sydney's virus outbreak has spread 280km into regional NSW with the city of Orange, in the state's central west, added as a COVID hotspot list.

A close contact of an infected healthcare worker from western Sydney reported in Tuesday's numbers tested positive for COVID-19, health authorities said.

NSW Health on Tuesday afternoon warned that person travelled through Orange on Saturday, December 19.

They attended Orange Health Service and all close contacts have been identified, have self-isolated and have undergone testing returning negative results.

However anyone who attended Orange Central Square Shopping Centre (227-239 Summer Street) on Saturday, December 19 between 4.05-4.15pm is considered "a casual contact who should monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately".

"The person did not enter any stores or come into close contact with any individual during this time period," NSW Health said.

Coronavirus testing is available at the Laverty Drive-through service at the Orange Showground from Tuesday afternoon, and at the Orange Hospital's Fever Clinic from 10am on Wednesday.

Testing is also available at the Western Primary Health Network's Respiratory Clinic at the Bloomfield Medical Centre on Forest Road on weekdays.

Investigations continue into how the healthcare worker, who was involved in the transfer of patients between hospitals, homes and care facilities, contracted the virus.

Western Sydney residents have been urged to come forward for testing, and dozens of venues have been sent into lockdown after the mysterious COVID-19 case was recorded overnight.

NSW recorded nine new positive cases, seven of those linked to the northern beaches cluster.

The eighth case was the healthcare worker who is being investigated by contact tracers while the ninth was their close contact.

The new results linked to western Sydney have sparked an urgent health alert in Blacktown.

Anyone who visited the BodyFit Gym on the following dates and times has been urged to get tested and immediately isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.

 

  • Wednesday December 16: 7am to 8am
  • Thursday December 17: 7am to 8am
  • Friday December 18: 7am to 8am

 

"The case that is under investigation is a health care worker from western Sydney who was involved in the transfer of patients from the international airport," Dr Chant said.

"This case has transported several patients but we have identified that they also have transferred positive COVID cases. We are obviously doing urgent genome sequencing to confirm that that is the source of their infection and those results will be available later today. "A close workplace contact of this health care worker has come back positive."

Tuesday's updated venues list also included another site in Paddington, The Alimentari Cafe at 2 Hopetoun Street.

Those who visited the cafe at the specified times must get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

  • Thursday, December 16: 5.30am to 6pm
  • Friday, December 18: 5.30am to 6pm
  • Saturday, December 19: 5.30am to 6pm

 

A health worker at the pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney's inner west. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar
A health worker at the pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney's inner west. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nicholas Eagar

 

Supermarkets, gyms, beauty salons and cinemas were last night added to Sydney's growing list of venues added to the NSW Health coronavirus alerts.

In another late night update on Monday, NSW Health added 30 venues across 14 suburbs visited by a confirmed case, including in Alexandria, Avalon Beach, Blacktown, Mona Vale, Narrabeen, Newport, Paddington, Sydney, Warriewood, Bayview, Gordon, Macquarie Park, Palm Beach and Berowra.

 

The following is the latest updates to the alerts list. For the full list, visit the NSW Health website.

 

Anyone who visited the following venues during the dates and times listed is considered a close contact and must get tested immediately.

NSW Health said they are also required to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of their test result. The venues include:

  • Vortex Gym - Strength and Conditioning Class, 1 Bowden Street, Alexandria, on Tuesday December 15. This venue has been updated from casual to close contact;
  • Avalon Beach RSL Club, 1 Bowling Green Lane, Avalon Beach, on Friday December 11 all day until close, Monday December 14 all day until close, Tuesday December 15 all day until close, Wednesday December 16 1pm until midnight and Wednesday December 16 opening time to 1pm. Anyone who attended on December 16 should get tested immediately and isolate pending a result;
  • United Cinemas, 39 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, on Tuesday December 15, 12pm to 2.15pm;
  • BodyFit Gym, 27 Sackville St, Blacktown, 7am to 8am on Wednesday December 16, Thursday December 17 and Friday December 18;
  • Park House Hotel, 2 Park St, Mona Vale, on Wednesday December 16 from 8.00pm to 10pm;
  • Pilates KX, Shop 5/1 Mona Vale Rd Mona Vale, on Monday December 14 from 7pm to 9pm;
  • The Boatshed Cafe & Bar, Lower Level 11 Narrabeen Street, Narrabeen, on Monday December 14 from 2pm to 3pm;
  • Lovat Restaurant, 316-324 Barrenjoey Road, Newport, on Tuesday December 15 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Patrons sitting inside or staff working on the floor at the bar are close contacts and must get tested and isolate for 14 days even if a negative result is received. All other patrons are casual contacts who must get tested immediately and isolate pending a result;
  • London Hotel, 85 Underwood St, Paddington, on Thursday December 17 from 8.15pm to 9.30pm;
  • Paragon Hotel, Sports Bar, 1 Loftus St, Sydney, on Wednesday December 16 from 2.45pm to 3.30pm. Anyone who attended the Sports Bar during this time for more than one hour is considered a close contact and should get tested and isolate for 14 days even if they receive a negative result. Anyone who attended the Sports Bar during this time for less than one hour get tested immediately and isolate pending a negative result. People who attended other areas of the Paragon Hotel during this time, should monitor for symptoms, and isolate and get tested immediately if symptoms appear;
  • Warriewood Headland Private Tennis Court, inside clubhouse and outside on courts on Monday December 14 from 9.30am to 12pm;
  • United Cinemas Warriewood, 4 Vuko Place, Warriewood, on Tuesday December 15 from 12pm to 2.30pm.

 

 

Anyone who attended one of the following venues at the times specified is asked to immediately get tested and isolate until NSW Health provides further information. The venues include:

  • The House Nail Salon, 24 Avalon Parade, Avalon, on Monday December 14 from 10.30am to 11.30am;
  • Woolworths, 74 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, on Tuesday December 15 from 7.00pm to 7.30pm;
  • Rowland Reserve Dog Park, Pittwater Road, Bayview, from 4pm to 5pm on Wednesday December 16 and Thursday December 17;
  • USA Nails, 788A Pacific Highway, Gordon, on Thursday December 17 from 12.30pm to 1.30pm;
  • Lovat Restaurant, 316-324 Barrenjoey Road, Newport on Friday December 11 from 6.30pm to 8.30pm;
  • Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, 16 Mitala St, Newport, on Wednesday December 16 from 5pm to 6pm;
  • Shot Lab, 1/326-330 Barrenjoey Rd, Newport, on Tuesday December 15 from 11am to 12pm;
  • Premier Academy League Under 8s, Macquarie University Soccer Fields, Macquarie Park, Sunday December 13 from 9am to 11am;
  • Pronto Creative Foods, 1095 Barrenjoey Rd, Palm Beach, from 7.30am to 8.30am on Wednesday December 16 and Thursday December 17;
  • Warriewood Square, 12 Jackson Road, Warriewood, Tuesday December 15 from 3.30p to-4.30pm, Wednesday December 16 from 11am to 12.15pm, Thursday December 17 from 11am to 3pm.
The The Boatshed Cafe & Bar in Narrabeen has been added to the alerts list.
The The Boatshed Cafe & Bar in Narrabeen has been added to the alerts list.

 

Anyone who has attended any of the following venues should get tested immediately and isolate pending results. The venues include:

  • The Anglers Rest, 216 Brooklyn Rd, Brooklyn, on Thursday December 17 from 5.30pm to 7.15pm;
  • Paddington Alimentari, 2 Hopetoun St, Paddington, from 5.30am to 6pm on Thursday December 17, Friday December 18 and Saturday December 19;
  • Art house Hotel, 275 Pitt St, Sydney, on Thursday December 17 from 11.15am to 12.15pm;
  • McDonalds Restaurant, Warriewood Rd, Warriewood, on Thursday December 17 from 1.30pm to 2pm;
  • Warriewood Square - Kmart, Rebel Sport, Woolworths, Aldi and Surf Dive N Ski, 12 Jackson Road, Warriewood, on Tuesday December 8 from 12.30pm to 2.15pm.

Anyone who attended either of the following venues at these times is a casual contact who should monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately and isolate if they appear:

  • 1 Bligh St, Sydney, Thursday December 17 from 10.30am to 10.50am;
  • Macquarie Shopping Centre, corner of Herring and Waterloo roads, Macquarie Park, on Monday December 13 from 11am to 1pm. This is a change of advice from test immediately and isolate to casual contact.

NSW Health has advised that Asquith Golf Course was no longer considered a risk and has been removed from the list of venues of concern.

Health authorities have urged anyone in NSW with even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, to come forward immediately for testing, then isolate until they receive a negative result.

 

Originally published as Virus alert 280km from cluster


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