National

Urgent warning for NSW residents who quarantined in Brisbane hotel

Urgent warning for NSW residents who quarantined in Brisbane hotel
There is an urgent warning for any NSW residents or visitors who quarantined at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Brisbane.
Anyone who completed their 14-day isolation there must immediately get tested and go into isolation for another two weeks, from the date they were last at the hotel.
They must also contact NSW Health urgently.
Victoria records no new local COVID-19 cases
Six cases of the UK COVID-19 variant have now been linked to the hotel, and the variant is known to spread more easily from person to person than other strains, NSW Health said.
The Queensland Government has notified NSW Health there were NSW people staying at the hotel who have since returned home.
The hotel is believed to have been used for returned travellers only but staff members may also be affected.

Northern Beaches no longer a 'hotspot'

Sydney's Northern Beaches was is no longer considered to be a coronavirus hotspot after residents endured weeks of lockdown over the holiday period.
Australia's Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly has revoked the hotspot definition today after thousands of people were ordered to stay at home and many spent Christmas alone in isolation.
"Today, I'm revoking that hotspot definition on the basis of the fantastic work that's been done, of course, mainly by the community in taking note of the public health orders and lockdown measures that have happened there over the last few weeks," Dr Kelly said.

One new local case

Just one new locally transmitted case of coronavirus was reported in New South Wales overnight.
The child is a household contact of a previously reported case, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Six cases were recorded in hotel quarantine. There were 20,664 tests across the state overnight.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW must increase testing levels to above 20,000 over the next 24 hours.
"I'm particularly urging people in the Greater Western Sydney area - so that picks up all of south-western Sydney, those areas of Liverpool, Fairfield, Bankstown and those areas into Western Sydney," Dr Chant said.
Australia's CMO defends effectiveness of AstraZeneca vaccine
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian updates the media on COVID-19. January 13, 2021. (9News )
"It is critical we have those high rates of testing to make sure we track down any unrecognised chains of transmission."
NSW Health last night released an alert for the Groomsman Barber Shop in Warriewood Square, in Sydney's Northern Beaches.
Anyone who visited the location from 11.30am-12.00pm on January 6 is now considered a casual contact of a positive case and should get tested immediately.
Testing clinic in Western Sydney seen nearly empty. (9News)

Mount Druitt cases linked to Berala cluster

A man who presented to the emergency department at Mount Druitt hospital and was diagnosed with COVID-19, has been linked to the Berala cluster.
The man's partner has also tested positive, and genomic testing has linked their cases to Berala. Their diagnoses were announced earlier this week.
However, Dr Chant said while the genomic testing showed the same strain, health officials are missing a link.
Shoppers in the city observe the new rules around wearing masks in retail and crowded areas, on Castlereagh Street, Sydney, 12 January 2021. (Jessica Hromas)
"But despite the fact that we have that genomic linkage with the Berala cluster, we have not identified a point where that person crossed over with anyone known to have COVID," Dr Chant said.
"It means we are currently testing widely around what we call 'upstream contacts', a broad net, to attempt to find any missing link in those chains of transmission.
"So I just want to extend my appreciation to that person and their extended family, and also other settings where we're doing that upstream contact tracing."

'Mopping up' from Avalon and Berala clusters could take weeks

Dr Chant said it could take "at least three, maybe four, weeks" before the two Sydney clusters are completely under control.
"The more we can adopt those COVID-safe practices, those practices of wearing masks indoors, getting tested as soon as possible with the most minimal of symptoms, maintain that physical distancing, this will all mean that even if we don't recognise a case, it's less likely to transmit to multiple people."
Dr Chant said NSW health is continuing to monitor the situation and could not say when restrictions will be eased again.
"As an epidemiologist we like to see around two incubation periods before we assess that we are free of the disease," she said.
"But I just urge everyone, please do not become complacent with the lower numbers. It is almost a time to re-double our efforts as we try and get to no community transmission as soon as possible."

Restrictions to remain despite vaccine

Ms Berjiklian has warned that as a vaccine is rolled out in Australia over the next few months, COVID-safe practices will still remain in place.
"Just because some people in the community, whether it is a small number or a larger number, has the vaccine, does not mean that the rest of us can relax. Quite the opposite," she said.
"We have to stay COVID-safe for a while longer when the pandemic can be deemed to be over.
"We don't know when that end date is. But we have to learn to live with the virus, which is what I believe we're doing in NSW.
"We don't want our citizens to have to bear any additional burden or stress one day longer than they have."