Potts point on excessive alert as Victoria experiences six deaths and 384 new …

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By Rachel Clun and Mary Ward

Updated July 28, 2020 — 12.41pmfirst published at 11.30am

About Victoria
Victoria most commonly refers to:

Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia
Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada
Queen Victoria (1819–1901), Queen of the United Kingdom (1837–1901), Empress of India (1876–1901)
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Potts Point on high alert as Victoria reports six deaths and 384 new …

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Everyone who lives in Potts Point and anyone who has visited the inner-city suburb of Sydney in the past two weeks is being urged to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

Fourteen new cases were confirmed in NSW on Tuesday morning, including six linked to the Bankstown funerals cluster, and four associated with the outbreak at the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park.

Potts Point on high alert as Victoria reports six deaths and 384 new …

On Tuesday, Victoria reported 384 new cases and a further six deaths.

Three cases have now been linked to the Potts Point Thai Rock restaurant.

Three cases have now been linked to the Potts Point Thai Rock restaurant.Credit:Louie Douvis

In NSW one further case has been linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Potts Point, and another is the case in a staff member from The Apollo restaurant which was reported yesterday evening.

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“All people who live in or have visited the Potts Point area in the past two weeks should get tested if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, however minimal,” NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

In nearby Darling Point, the Cruising Yacht Club was closed for cleaning on Tuesday after two people in its community tested positive for COVID-19.

One staff member from The Apollo tested positive for COVID-19. The restaurant has been closed for deep cleaning.

One staff member from The Apollo tested positive for COVID-19. The restaurant has been closed for deep cleaning.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

The attendees were “an active member” of the club and their partner, the club said in a statement posted to Facebook.

“As a result of this news, the CYCA has closed its clubhouse until further notice, for deep cleaning and for the testing of staff – with the health and safety of members, guests, staff and the community the CYCA’s number one priority,” it said.

The club said it had a COVIDSafe plan in place and was working with NSW Health on how to proceed.

Two other cases reported in NSW on Tuesday morning were in a returned traveller in hotel quarantine and a person who acquired COVID-19 in Victoria and is in isolation.

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A woman in her 30s who was a passenger on flight JQ506 from Melbourne to Sydney, which arrived on July 25, tested positive for the coronavirus. NSW Health is contacting other passengers considered close contacts who were seated in rows 10 to 14 and directing them to get tested if they have even mild symptoms.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk advised residents not to travel to NSW, as her state recorded no new cases.

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“We have a hard border closure with Victoria, we have three declared hotspots with NSW and if there are further outbreaks we will not hesitate to take action,” she said on Tuesday.

“If we have to take even stronger measures we will take stronger measures.”

In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews said only the most urgent elective surgeries would go ahead as the state works to manage the crisis facing the COVID-19 outbreak in multiple aged care facilities, with 769 active cases now in aged care.

“That will free up beds and it will free up staff. Staff is the biggest issue,” he said.

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“It’s about having staff who are able to provide care and support to the most vulnerable residents in and coming out of private sector aged care.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that, while he was due to spend a few days in Queensland, he would be returning to Canberra to help deal with Victoria’s crisis.

Mr Morrison said dealing with the aged care crisis was a “shared responsibility” between the federal and state governments.

“I think the urgency of the situation requires me to return to Canberra,” he said.

Pharmacy staff isolate after attending hotspot restaurant

More than a dozen staff from the pharmacy attached to St Vincent’s Private Hospital are self-isolating after the group dined at an inner-city restaurant now linked to three COVID-19 cases.

A spokesman for HPS Pharmacies said 18 staff dined at Thai Rock in Potts Point on Friday, July 17.

“In accordance with a NSW Health directive that anyone who visited the restaurant for more than two hours between July 15 and July 25 [should] be tested and self-isolate for 14 days, the pharmacy staff who dined at the restaurant are currently in self-isolation awaiting the results of COVID-19 tests,” the HPS spokesman said.

“St Vincent’s Private Hospital and the pharmacy have arrangements in place to continue pharmacy operations with patient and staff welfare the priority.”

Dr Chant urged people to avoid non-essential travel and gatherings, and to avoid gyms unless equipment was “thoroughly cleaned” between patrons.

“Of particular concern is transmission in venues such as hotels and restaurants, the gym, and social gatherings,” she said.

“Don’t host or go to a gathering of more than 10 people at home.”

Dr Chant reminded anyone who feels even the mildest symptoms to get tested and stay at home until they are cleared, and said people must maintain social distancing, hand hygiene and cough etiquette while out and about.

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“Use a mask if you’re in situations where you are unable to socially distance, particularly indoors,” she said.

Speaking from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, Mr Morrison said while there were “outbreak zones” in NSW, the state government had them under control.

“There are some concerning outbreaks in NSW but they’re getting on top of them extremely quickly and containing them,” he said on Tuesday morning.

“They’re able to keep their economy open and they’re able to get on top of an outbreak, and it is in Australia’s national interests that they be successful.”

There are now 75 cases linked to the Thai Rock Wetherill Park outbreak, 56 cases associated with the cluster at the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s south-west, and eight cases linked to the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club cluster.

Fifteen cases have been linked to the funeral gatherings and three cases are now associated with Thai Rock Potts Point cluster.

In the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday 16,009 tests were reported, down from 22,032 in the previous reporting period. The number of people being treated by NSW Health has not changed.

With Lydia Lynch

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Rachel Clun
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Rachel Clun is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.

Mary Ward

Mary Ward is a reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.

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