Three states have acted swiftly to issue travel warnings after a Sydney hotel quarantine security guard tested positive to coronavirus.
The man, 47, who has already received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, broke NSW’s streak of 55 days without a locally-acquired case after he returned a positive test on Saturday night.
The new case comes two days after a hospital doctor tested positive in Queensland.
As health authorities scramble to track down the places the Sydney hotel security guard visited while infectious, Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria have issued alerts to travellers who have arrived into the states from NSW in recent days.
Victoria Health will contact all arrivals who entered the state via Sydney since March 13 using data captured by the Travel Permit System.
Anyone who visited Pancakes on the Rocks Beverley Hills in Sydney’s south between 10.45am and midday on March 13 has been ordered to get tested and immediately quarantine for 14 days.
All travellers who have entered Victoria via Sydney since March 13 will be contacted by health officials. Pictured are travellers being screened by health workers at Sydney Airport
The security guard visited Pancakes on the Rocks in Beverly Hills on Saturday, March 13 from 10.45am to midday. Victorian and Western Australian health officials have urged anyone was there at the time and entered either state since to get tested and self-isolate 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.
Western Australia’s Department of Health has issued similar advice for travelers who have recently returned to Perth from NSW.
Anyone who visited the Angelo Anestis Aquatic Centre in Bexley on March 13 from 9am to 9.30am and Pancakes on the Rocks in Beverly Hills the same day must get tested immediately and quarantine until March 27.
‘We believe any risk to WA remains very low,’ WA’s Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson said in a statement on Sunday night.
‘We will continue to monitor the situations in Queensland and NSW very closely and will issue updated health advice if required.’
Any recent arrivals into WA from Queensland and NSW should remain vigilant and to get tested and isolate immediately if even mild symptoms developed.
The Mantra Sydney Central pictured on Sunday hours after a security guard tested positive to coronavirus
The infected Sydney man also visited the Angelo Anestis Aquatic Centre (pictured) in Bexley on March 13 from 9am to 9.30am
The man worked at the Mantra Hotel at Haymarket and the Sofitel Wentworth (pictured) housing returned international travellers on March 11 and 12 while infectious
Tasmanian Health officials have also acted swiftly,
Anyone who has recently arrived in Tasmania who visited the Sydney locations specified by NSW Health at the dates and times listed is urged to self-isolate immediately and phone the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.
The Sydney hotel quarantine guard works at the Sofitel Wentworth and the Mantra Hotel at Haymarket.
He was infectious while working a shift at the Mantra from 7pm on Friday night to 7am on Saturday, coming into contact with 130 people.
During his shift, the man visited the Dae Jang Kum Korean restaurant in Haymarket, between 12.15am and 12.20am, before going to the nearby 7-Eleven in Capitol Square, on George Street, from 12.20am to 12.25am.
The man, whose household has since tested negative, also caught a train from Hurstville to the city arriving at 6.30pm on March 12 and from the city to Hurstville leaving at 7am the next morning.
Venues visited by the infected worker
Pancakes on the rocks at Beverly Hills – Saturday, March 13 from 10.45am to midday.
Dae Jang Kum Korean restaurant in Haymarket – Saturday, March 13 from 12.15 to 12.20am
7 Eleven in Capitol Square, Haymarket – Saturday, March 13 from 12.20am to 12.25am
Angelo Anestis Aquatic Centre in Bexley – Saturday, March 13 from 9 to 9.30am.
A train from Hurstville to the city arriving at 6.30pm on Friday, March 12 and city to Hurstville leaving at 7am Saturday March 13.
Hudson’s Coffee Shop, Hurstville Private Hospital:
Monday March 8, 8.30 to 9am Tuesday March 9, 8.30am to 9am Wednesday March 10, 8.30am to 9am Thursday March 11, 8.30am to 9am Friday March 12, 8.30am to 9am
Coles, Hurstville Station – Wednesday 10 March, 8pm to 9pm
‘At the moment we think these venues are low-risk but what we’re doing is reviewing CCTV footage to refine the information, and we will be using that text to those patrons that have used the QR codes for these venues,’ Dr Chant said.
‘It is likely some additional venues will be identified.’
Alerts have since been issued for a busy supermarket and a popular coffee shop that were attended by the man earlier this week.
Anyone who visited Coles, in Hurstville Station, on Wednesday March 10 between 8pm to 9pm or Hudson’s Coffee Shop, Hurstville Private Hospital, between Monday March 8 to Friday March 12 from 8.30am to 9am have been urged to monitor for symptoms.
If they appear, people are advised to immediately be tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
The same advice applies to anyone who attended the other venues during the listed times, except those who visited Pancakes on the Rocks who are considered close contacts and must be tested immediately and self-isolate for 14 days.
Dr Chant said the hypothesis was that the security guard caught the virus at Sofitel Wentworth during a shift on 7pm March 6 to 7am on March 7 when there was an infected guest at the hotel at the same time.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the security guard was out in Sydney while infectious but ‘not excessively so’ and he was confident about the likelihood of preventing an outbreak.
‘I am relatively relaxed today, knowing we have the systems in place that we have, and I am also relaxed about the fact that the testing did its job, picked up the gentleman,’ he said.
However, he said he was disappointed that NSW residents had relaxed their adherence to coronavirus rules and precautions.
‘I think the message from this to everybody is don’t be complacent. I have certainly seen complacency everywhere I go, actually, now,’ he said.
‘Our hotel quarantine system is all that is standing between us and situations like England, the [United] Sates, South America. We need to recognise we all need to do our bit.’
Mr Hazzard the new case highlights the importance of staying vigilant despite the state enjoying a 55-day streak.
The man briefly visited the Dae Jang Kum Korean restaurant in Haymarket (pictured), between 12.15am and 12.20am on Saturday during his night shift
He also visited 7-Eleven in Capitol Square, on George Street (pictured), from 12.20am to 12.25am
‘This is the reality of a pandemic. The science and medicine can only go so far… don’t become complacent,’ he said.
‘It is a real and present danger that will continue until we have most of the population vaccinated.
‘As we have said all along, vaccination helps but it does not necessarily stop you getting the virus.
‘The purpose of vaccination is of course, as you are well aware, having two doses in the case of Pfizer, and with AstraZeneca, it makes you far less likely to get as sick as you would get an far less likely to die.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the man received his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on March 2, but has not yet had his second shot. It takes up to two weeks for the jab’s full immunity.
‘I’m not disturbed by it, I’m not surprised by it because you would expect these things to happen on the odd occasion,’ he said.
Anyone who visited Coles, in Hurstville Station, (pictured) on Wednesday March 10 between 8pm to 9pm has been urged to monitor for symptoms
‘There are no risk-free responses when you deal with Covid-19, it is unrealistic and naive to think so… there are always vulnerabilities.
‘This is an important point, the [effectiveness of the] vaccination is not immediate. I have had my second dose and it does take a while,’ Mr Morrison said, moments after receiving the jab.
‘You should still try to observe the Covid-safe behaviours — I’m wearing a mask today.’
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said it was ‘unusual’ for someone to catch coronavirus after getting the first jab, but no unexpected.
‘This is not a silver bullet that is going to fix everything right away,’ he said alongside the prime minister.
‘There will still be outbreaks, even as we go through this vaccination program.’
Professor Kelly said a ‘small proportion’ of people may get ‘mildly sick’ in the unlikely event they caught the virus, but would not become seriously ill.
‘There is a time lag of getting that vaccine and the protection kicking in, of a few weeks, and as you get the second dose, particularly with the Pfizer vaccine, that protection increases,’ he said.
The worker’s positive tests was reported on Saturday night, breaking the state’s streak of 55 days without a locally-acquired case
The man also caught a train from Hurstville to the city arriving at 6.30pm on March 12 and from the city to Hurstville leaving at 7am
Health authorities are working to identify where the virus came from and who may have been exposed.
‘The source of the new infection reported overnight is under investigation and urgent genome sequencing is underway,’ Dr Stephen Conaty from NSW Health said.
NSW Health said the emergence of the case ‘underscores the need for continued community vigilance for any signs and symptoms that could be Covid-19’.
‘It is critical that everyone continues to practise Covid-safe behaviours and that people come forward for testing if they have even the mildest of symptoms,’ a statement read.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the hypothesis was that the security guard caught the virus at Sofitel Wentworth during a shift on 7pm March 6 to 7am on March 7 when there was an infected guest at the hotel at the same time
NSW Health said the emergence of the case ‘underscores the need for continued community vigilance for any signs and symptoms that could be Covid-19’
The case will be recorded in Monday’s figures as it was detected after 8pm on Saturday.
There were no locally-acquired Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, and three cases in travellers in hotel quarantine.
The tally came from more than 9,200 tests.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant will address the state at 1pm on Sunday with more details.
Meanwhile, Scott Morrison received his second Pfizer vaccination dose on Sunday morning.
The prime minister joined 20 nurses, GPs, frontline workers, aged care staff and ADF personnel to receive their first dose on February 21.
It has now been three weeks – the recommended waiting time between jabs.
Scott Morrison received his second Pfizer vaccination dose on Sunday morning. Pictured getting his first jab on February 21