Australia

Dozens of Sydney suburbs warned about coronavirus risk as Tasmania reveals plan to reopen border with NSW

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian Source: AAP

Gladys Berejiklian says she wants to open the Victorian border 'as soon as we can', with NSW recording two new local coronavirus cases today.

NSW Health has urged people in south western Sydney to get tested right away if they experience even mild COVID-19 symptoms, after virus fragments were found at a sewage treatment plant in Glenfield.

The virus fragments were detected through the state's ongoing sewage surveillance program.

Cases have already been found in suburbs served by the treatment plant but officials say there may be more infections going undetected.

The area served by the treatment plant includes the suburbs of Airds, Ambarvale, Appin, Bardia, Blair Athol, Blairmount, Bow Bowing, Bradbury, Campbelltown, Casula, Claymore, Eagle Vale, Englorie Park, Eschol Park, Glen Alpine, Glenfield, Ingleburn, Kearns, Leumeah, Macquarie Fields, Macquarie Links, Menangle Park, Minto, Raby, Rosemeadow, Ruse, St Andrews, St Helens Park, Varroville and Woodbine.

It comes as the Tasmanian government on Tuesday announced its plan to classify NSW as a low-risk area from 6 November, meaning travellers from the mainland state won’t have to quarantine on arrival.

However, Premier Peter Gutwein said a final decision would still be subject to public health advice.

He said NSW was on top of coronavirus and looked “very safe for their population size,” as the mainland state on Tuesday recorded two new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases and another ten in hotel quarantine.

“They are on top of this. But we want to ensure that as we move closer to Friday the 6th, that there are no further major outbreaks occurring in that state,” Mr Gutwein told reporters.

Tasmania reopened its border on Monday to Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, the ACT and New Zealand.

Mr Gutwein said a tentative date for reopening to Victoria was 1 December, depending how their COVID-19 numbers track.

Ms Berejiklian, meanwhile, expressed caution about opening the NSW border to Victoria, despite the southern state having two consecutive days with no COVID-19 cases and restrictions there being eased from midnight.

"We'll take the border down as soon as we can, but we do need to wait to see what impact easing of restrictions in Melbourne and Victoria has before we decide exactly when that will be," she told reporters in Port Macquarie on Tuesday.

"That's the real test ... it's easy not to spread the virus when people have limited mobility, but once you ease restrictions and people start moving around again and start working.”

Ms Berejiklian remained scathing about Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's decision to keep Queensland's border slammed shut, saying NSW had demonstrated its capacity to run a strong economy and keep the community safe.

"I just wish we'd take the games out of this because it's affecting people's lives ... especially when the border closure is completely unnecessary," she said.

NSW’s two locally-acquired cases on Tuesday were household contacts of previously reported cases linked to the Oran Park community cluster, and have been in isolation. 

There are now 25 cases linked to that cluster in Sydney’s southwest.

NSW Health last week called on anyone who attended the Bathurst 1000 motor race and local Bathurst residents with any coronavirus symptoms to get tested, following the detection of remnants of COVID-19 in raw sewage from the area.

The detection could have been a result of a current or previous infection.

On Tuesday, NSW Health said the Bathurst community had responded well to calls for testing, and no cases were detected in the area. Repeat sewage samples taken in Bathurst last Thursday detected no further evidence of the virus.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSW, VictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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