New COVID-19 case linked to Sydney hotel

A new case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in a person who stayed in the same Sydney quarantine hotel where a security guard was infected last week.

NSW Health said on Wednesday the returned traveller was quarantining on the 11th floor of the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth hotel where a security guard is believed to have been infected last week by a hotel guest.

Genomic sequencing has established all three cases have the highly contagious UK strain of the virus.

It’s believed the security guard was somehow infected by the first guest, who arrived at the hotel on March 5.

NSW Health said all other returned travellers on the same floor had tested negative to date.

“Investigations into the nature of the transmission continue, but NSW Health can confirm that there is no shared air-conditioning between the rooms, which all have their own units. The units also do not connect to the corridor,” it said in a statement.

Everyone who was staying or working on the same floor of the hotel during the exposure periods remains in quarantine.

Close contacts of the security guard have all tested negative to date and will continue to self-isolate for 14 days.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new case “doesn’t change anything in Sydney” because the infected person remains in quarantine.

“The threat to the community is negligible because they haven’t been out anywhere,” she said.

“But having said that, it does mean we are still on high alert until the first 14 days passes and we can be sure that everyone who is tested and found to be negative stays negative.”

“Health believes they acquired it after they went into the hotel so we are being upfront about that. They didn’t have the virus when they came to the hotel,” she said.

Meanwhile, NSW residents can finally stand at the bar and enjoy a cold one – just in time for St Patrick’s Day festivities.

People in NSW are now permitted to stand and drink at a bar, as promised during the state’s last round of restriction-easing last month.

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