Sydney COVID case likely infected at work

A Sydney hotel quarantine worker infected with COVID-19 appears to have acquired the virus from a returned overseas traveller.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says it’s likely the woman was infected at work.

“It’s a massive relief,” he told reporters on Friday.

“The virus is not part of our locally transmitted viruses; it appears it has come from overseas,” he said.

“We have more work to do to work out where it has come from but highly likely it came from possibly the hotel or possibly aircrew,” he said.

Airline crews returning from overseas stay in hotel quarantine hotels before turning around and going back overseas.

“We will do some more work and report back to the community but is extremely good news for all of us.”

NSW Health was yet to determine which aircrew or person from overseas managed to transmit the virus.

It said the woman’s case that was revealed on Thursday, was the only local infection in the state in the past 27 days.

There were 11,128 tests reported in the 24-hours to 8pm on Thursday night with five cases in returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Jeremy McAnulty said testing of the woman’s contacts was continuing.

“There have been no further positive results so far,” he said.

Some staff at Sydney’s Novotel Hotel who worked last Friday were being tested and placed in isolation, he said.

Her colleagues who worked on November 28, 29 or 30 had already been tested and her five household contacts had tested negative.

NSW Health is awaiting the test results of a small number of her close contacts.

The woman’s infection sparked widespread alarm on Thursday, with fears Western Australia could withdraw its promise to open its border up to NSW and Victoria from next Tuesday.

WA Premier Mark McGowan says he will take the weekend to assess his options.

However Queensland authorities say its borders will remain open for now after travel restrictions were lifted on Tuesday.

“The government is keeping a close eye on what is happening in Sydney and our health experts are in regular contact with their NSW counterparts,” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath told Queensland parliament on Thursday.

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