No new local virus cases found in NSW

NSW has recorded no new local cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours, but health authorities stress the state is a long way from being out of the woods.

More than 20,000 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, and two cases in hotel quarantine were identified.

“That’s slightly less (testing) than the day before… (but) it is on the face of it very positive that we’ve had zero cases of local transmission,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters.

“But of course that’s entirely dependent on the numbers of cases who come forward.”

NSW Health on Wednesday night issued an alert for anyone who has been at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Brisbane, where a highly contagious outbreak of the UK variant of COVID-19 has developed, since December 30.

The quarantine hotel is linked to six cases of the strain and has been closed by the Queensland government for deep cleaning.

All ten people in NSW identified by contact tracers as having been at the hotel have since been contacted and returned to hotel quarantine, Mr Hazzard said on Thursday.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant on Wednesday said it was unlikely restrictions across Greater Sydney would be eased soon, because it will at least another three weeks before authorities can be sure the Berala and northern beaches clusters are squashed.

“It would take at least three, maybe four weeks and so I need the community to be on track with us,” she said.

“As an epidemiologist, we like to see around two incubation periods before we assess that we are free of the disease.”

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