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Urgent virus alert issued to NSW arrivals from New Zealand

Urgent virus alert issued to NSW arrivals from New Zealand

NSW has celebrated another day of no community transmission but travellers from New Zealand have been issued an urgent warning.

The warning comes after the Trans Tasman neighbour recorded its first case of community transmission in months.

A 56-year-old woman tested positive after completing her 14 days hotel quarantine in Auckland, and health authorities are racing to determine whether she caught the disease from another returned traveller in the hotel.

New Zealand’s Director-General of Health, Ashley Bloomfield, said the woman had tested negative twice during her quarantine period.

She developed mild symptoms, including muscle aches, on January 15 and tested positive a week later.

"We are working on the assumption this is a positive case and a more transmissible variant," Dr Bloomfield said.

NSW Health said anyone who arrived in NSW from New Zealand between January 14 and 24 should check the list of more than 30 potential exposure sites on the NZ government website.

“If they have been to any (of these sites, they should) follow the associated health advice,” the department said.

“They are also asked to monitor for even the mildest of symptoms and get tested and isolate if they feel unwell, then remain in isolation until a negative result is received – in line with routine advice for everyone in NSW.”

Three infections were diagnosed in hotel quarantine.

Less than 9,000 tests were conducted in the latest reporting period, not even half the 20,000 benchmark set by NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant.

“High testing rates are essential to give us confidence that no cases are going undetected in the community. Everyone who gets tested is playing an important role in helping to contain the spread of COVID-19,” NSW Health said.

The Berejiklian government is set to discuss the next steps of easing restrictions during a crisis cabinet meeting on Wednesday.