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#childsafety | Testing advice widens as Sydney pub coronavirus cluster grows | #parenting | #parenting | #kids

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Anyone who visited the Crossroads Hotel over an eight-day period has been urged to self-isolate as health authorities race to determine the scale of an outbreak in Sydney’s south-west.

An 18-year-old staffer was confirmed as the sixth case linked to the venue, leading the New South Wales government to significantly expand the self-isolation advice to all people who visited between 3 July and 10 July. 

The focus was previously only the 600-odd people who visited the Casula pub on 3 July.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth urged all patrons who could have been exposed to get tested, including visitors like freight drivers who may have travelled interstate after visiting the truck stop.

“Infectious diseases of any sort, particularly ones with pandemic potential, do transmit or do travel through transport hubs,” he said.

“It is critically important that if you were there during those 3 July and 10 July, that you get yourself tested, once again, in this case, regardless of symptoms.”

Over 1200 people have been tested at the pop-up clinic at the pub since Friday.

NSW Chief Health Office Dr Kerry Chant said people who had visited Crossroads had to self-isolate, even if they received a negative test.

Dr Coatsworth said Federal Health authorities are working with both NSW and Victoria to make sure “the small spot fires that have occurred in south-west Sydney are put out as quickly as possible.”

Five new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, including three household contacts of a Crossroads patron.

Earlier today, NSW Premier Gladys Berejeklian warned the state was government prepared to ramp up restrictions to clamp down on community transmission.

“We are definitely at a crossroads in New South Wales,” she said.

“If you wake up with a scratchy throat, don’t go to work. Get tested.”

A cleaner dressed in Personal Protective Equipment leaves the Crossroads Hotel.

AAP

Asymptomatic testing carries ‘little yield’ outside clusters

Dr Coatsworth said he recommended a testing blitz of residents living in the Casula hotspot.

But he rejected the idea a state-wide testing regime was needed over fears asymptomatic coronavirus carriers could be spreading the virus.

“The reality from the Victorian experience that we have seen is that there have been many, many thousands of tests conducted on asymptomatic individuals for very little yield,” he said.

“Your biggest bang for your buck is still to focus your testing on these dramatic individuals, that is still going to be the way that you detect most of the cases of Covid-19.”

“The asymptomatic test has a role in places where there are local small clusters, so the Casula case is a very good example.”

He also said residents in Sydney’s south-west do not have to worry about wearing masks, as there is yet to be evidence of widespread community transmission.

“We watch to see what is happening with community transmission and if it is significant, as it is in those areas of Victoria, we recommend mask use,” he said.

“Our switch [in advice] occurred when Victoria clearly had significant community transmission, and so the recommendation [for Casula] remains the same.”

“We also know that the main game in controlling Covid-19 as movement restrictions and social distancing.”

Victoria recorded an increase of 273 coronavirus cases on Sunday from 30,195 tests and the state government announced around 700,000 school students would return to remote learning in a bid to reduce movement under lockdown.

Dr Coatsworth confirmed the AHPPC has not changed its view on the safety of schooling, citing “overwhelming evidence” that children are less effective by COVID-19.

“There has been teacher to teacher transmission. There has been teacher to child transmission. It is more broadly reflective of what is going on in the community than what is actually going on in schools,” he explained.

“It remains the position of the AHPPC that schools are safe.”

In Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she is well prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19 after the state recorded no positive tests overnight. Queensland has just three active cases.

Ms Palaszczuk said government departments have, at her request, recently completed planning exercises in anticipation of community transmission outbreaks.

Her revelation comes two days after Queensland reopened its borders to all states and territories except Victorians.

Additional reporting: AAP

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’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

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