A Sydney supermarket worker who tested positive to COVID-19 after spending two weeks in hotel quarantine in Victoria has been deemed a low-risk by state health authorities.
The NSW man spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in Victoria and tested positive to COVID-19 after returning to Sydney and working at Woolworths in Balmain.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the man tested positive to the virus after his employer noticed he had minor symptoms.
He worked at the store on June 27-28 and 50 employees are now in isolation after being identified as close contacts. The store has undergone a deep clean.
The man had been in hotel quarantine in Victoria from June 11 to June 26 after flying from Bangladesh. He tested positive to COVID-19 on day four of his quarantine period.
Dr Chant said he was assessed as not infectious and cleared of the virus before he was discharged, but it’s unclear if this assessment included another COVID-19 test.
The man travelled from Melbourne to Sydney on a Jetstar flight JQ510 on June 26 and authorities are contacting passengers who could be considered close contacts.
He reported persistent symptoms to NSW Health in Sydney and is believed to have been at the “tail end” of the infection while he was working at the store.
“The level of virus detected is very, very low … but because he’s also got symptoms we’re just treating this as the utmost of precaution that he may be infectious,” Dr Chant told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.
“We do assess the risk as low.”
She said remnants of the virus may still exist in people for up to eight weeks, but people are deemed non-infectious if they’re symptom-free for 72 hours and if at least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said people who’ve shopped at Woolworths in Balmain should be alert to developing symptoms.
He also warned health authorities will be screening people at airports across NSW to ensure Melbourne residents from COVID-19 outbreak areas are not entering the state.
Any who do try to enter NSW could face six months’ imprisonment or a fine of $ 11,000 from Thursday.
NSW residents who return from Melbourne hotspots, meanwhile, will be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days and could face similar penalties if they skip quarantine.
The health minister also warned that Victorians from outside the Melbourne hotspots who visit NSW should brace for extra attention from police, including having their cars stopped.
Mr Hazzard urged the Victorian government to start screening people at its own airports and train stations to ensure residents of hotspot areas are not flouting lockdown rules.
Residents of 36 Melbourne suburbs have been sent back into lockdown for a month in a bid to contain a high number of new coronavirus cases detected in the past fortnight.
Victoria on Thursday reported 77 new COVID-19 cases, compared with eight in NSW, all of them returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
One patient in NSW is currently in intensive care and 68 people are being treated by NSW Health.
Some 3211 total confirmed cases have been reported in NSW from more than 870,000 COVID-19 tests.
People trying to enter NSW stadiums from this week will also be required to show their driver’s licence to prove they’re not from Victoria.
But the NSW-Victoria border will not be closed.
Meanwhile, limits on attendance numbers in NSW were relaxed from Wednesday for funerals, weddings, places of worship and community sport, as long as the one-person-per-four-square-metre rule applies.
Australian Associated Press