New South Wales Police are now investigating why a COVID-infected man from Sydney was in Byron Bay and whether his travels involved any criminal activity.
The man in his 50s tested positive after spending more than five days in the Byron community.
His two children have now also tested positive.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The man is reportedly not cooperating with authorities about his reasons for being in Byron or where exactly in the community he has been, after failing to check-in to any venues using a QR code.
Officials would not confirm reports the man even tried to leave Lismore Base Hospital last night.
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the matter was now in the hands of Police.
“All I’m prepared to say about our traveller to Byron is the police are looking extremely closely at what he was doing in that area. I trust the police will be able to take appropriate action in due course,” Mr Hazzard said.
“There are matters where one has to be a bit cautious because I’m not going to prejudice part of the police investigations or the police actions. I am certainly hopeful there will be both.”
Mr Hazzard dodged questions about whether the man’s reasons for being in Byron were “nefarious”.
“I’ve said all I prepared to say. You can draw your conclusions.”
Read more: NSW records 356 new local COVID-19 cases
The Byron Bay, Ballina, Lismore and Richmond Valley Shires were last night plunged to a seven-day lockdown as a result of the man’s positive result.
The Health Minister defending giving the region just an hours notice, arguing that the man’s lack of cooperation played a part.
“If, for example, we were dealing with someone who was not cooperating or giving us the information we need, you can imagine that the government would move more quickly in that situation to ensure we lockdown as fast as possible to keep safe, stop in any of those situations.”
Mr Hazzard insists community leaders were consulted before the lockdown was imposed.
Meantime New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has played down growing calls for a ring of steel around Sydney to protect regional communities.
She says the health advice doesn’t support it at the moment, arguing it would be unlikely to stop further spread to regional areas.
“What we also have to accept is the basic fact that Delta is very different to other strains we have had. Policy positions that may have worked in the past aren’t going to have an effect with Delta,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“It is something we need to accept. Accept this is a different variant and we need to approach it differently.”