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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says the state’s western regions are at risk of a coronavirus outbreak after a Victorian couple infected with COVID-19 travelled through NSW on their way to Queensland.
A 44-year-old woman tested positive to the virus in Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday afternoon and her husband also tested positive on Thursday morning.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard warns the state’s regions face a serious risk of outbreak.Credit:AAP
The couple left locked down Melbourne on June 1 and entered Queensland on June 5, travelling through Gillenbah, Forbes, Dubbo and Moree along the way.
“This is a very serious risk, it’s a real and present danger to us throughout the state,” Mr Hazzard said.
“I am very concerned that we’ve had people leave the lockdown and travel across our state and into Queensland, putting everyone at risk.”
NSW Health has identified 343 close contacts from the couple’s travels through the state and added extra pop-up testing clinics. Gillenbah has one clinic, Forbes has two and Dubbo and Moree each have three.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath said the man had a new job in Queensland, which is a legitimate reason to travel, so she would wait for all the facts to emerge before casting judgment.
“I don’t want to jump to conclusions before we have all the facts, specifically if they had a travel declaration,” she said.
Mr Hazzard said he was “working through the issues” of allowing pharmacies to administer COVID-19 vaccines, which would be particularly useful in rural areas without a local GP or where GPs are “working flat out”.
“But of course there are challenges around vaccine supply,” he said, noting he did not want to inflate community expectations.
Only the AstraZeneca vaccine would be practical to administer in pharmacies, he said, because of Pfizer’s strict low temperature storage requirements.
Meanwhile, Ms D’Ath expressed optimism the couple were less infectious by the time they entered her state.
“The good news is that it appears that both the two individuals are at the end of their infectious period, which means the risk is lower than we were expecting yesterday,” she said. “[It] is really positive news.”
The couple’s close contacts in Queensland have returned negative test results.
Anyone who attended the following venues at the listed times must get tested and isolate until NSW Health advises further information:
- Caltex Narrandera in Gillenbah – Tuesday, June 1, 10.30am to 11am
- Vandenberg Hotel in Forbes – Tuesday, June 1, 6pm to 10pm
- Brew Coffee Bar in Forbes – Wednesday, June 2, 7am to 10am
- Shell service station in Dubbo – Wednesday, June 2, 10.30am to 11.30am
- Church Street Cafe in Dubbo – Wednesday, June 2, 11.30am to 2.30pm
- Reading Cinemas Dubbo – Wednesday, June 2, 6pm to 10pm
- Gwydir Thermal Pools Motel & Caravan Park in Moree – Thursday, June 3 at 1.45pm to Saturday, June 5 at 6am
- Woolworths Moree – Thursday, June 3, 3.30pm to 4.30pm
- Cafe Omega in Moree – Thursday, June 3, 1.30pm to 4.30pm; Friday, June 4, 7am to 9.30am and 11.50am to 2pm
- Amaroo Tavern in Moree – Friday, June 4, 4.30pm to 11pm
Anyone who attended the following venues must get tested and self-isolate until receiving a negative result:
- Lake Forbes Motel in Forbes – Tuesday, June 1 at 1.30pm to Wednesday, June 2 at 10am
- Homestead Motel in Dubbo – Wednesday, June 2 at 12pm to Thursday, June 3 at 10am
Victoria recorded four local cases of COVID-19 on Thursday as Melbourne’s lockdown is set to end. All four cases are from the same household but authorities don’t know how they contracted the virus.
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