There has been a fresh coronavirus scare in New South Wales with the state recording its first locally acquired case of COVID-19 in almost two weeks.
A 45-year-old man has tested positive to the virus overnight.
Health officials say the man drives mini-vans transporting international air crew between Sydney Airport and city quarantine hotels.
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The man reportedly began developing symptoms on Saturday but continued to work before eventually being tested yesterday.
New South Wales Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says urgent contact tracing is now underway.
“The highest priority is the household and all the household contacts have been tested and results are pending, that will confirm with us an understanding how recent the infection is, the genomic sequencing is being expedited,” Dr Chant said.
“As we do, we keep an open mind, while we have a plausible hypothesis that this transmission may have originated from contact with international flight crew, it is important to remain open in these investigations.”
Dr Chant says the man worked for Sydney Ground Transport based in Alexandria but did not transport any members of the public.
“His sole responsibility was transporting aircrew, that is the information that we have on the individual and the company. As you know you information emerges, but at the moment I am stressing that because I do not want the general community to think that they have been exposed.”
She also says he wore protective equipment, including masks while working.
Health officials are now working through the man’s movements over the last few days with an update expected later on Wednesday.
However, Dr Chant says the man did attend a community sporting site.
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard has flagged tougher quarantine requirement for international air crew in the wake of this positive test.
It comes after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive earlier this month, with that strain traced back to air crew from the United States.
“The inclination that the New South Wales government has at the present time, is to say to international aircrews and airlines, that international aircrews coming into New South Wales will most likely be required to quarantine in the same way as any other international visitors, returnees, Australians returning to Australia,” Mr Hazzard said.
“Not necessarily for the full 14 days, because they have turnarounds between 24 and 72 hours.”
Mr Hazzard says he hopes to hold talks with airlines in the next 24 to 48 hours.