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Reason coronavirus still silently spreading in Sydney

1 week ago 6

NSW’s chief health officer has said COVID-19 is still bubbling away throughout Sydney, so far undetected but no less dangerous.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Dr Kerry Chant said she believed there were still more cases in southwestern and western Sydney that had yet to be diagnosed, and called for people to be more vigilant, especially coming into the school holidays when families will be on the move.

She said low testing rates were a major cause of concern, as health authorities believed this was allowing cases with mild or no symptoms to spread the virus.

“We are concerned about having testing rates high everywhere – but we’ve been concerned about western Sydney and southwestern Sydney because they’ve had lower testing rates than some other areas,” she said.

“It’s also because we have seen some other (mystery) cases pop up in southwestern Sydney and western Sydney in the last six weeks.”

Dr Chant said it made sense there were mystery cases in those areas, as many of the clusters across the city had originated in the area.

“What we’re looking at is that there are potentially chains of transmission that haven’t been detected, and that’s why we need everyone to come forward to uncover any undiagnosed cases in that area,” she said.

“It is important everyone is aware of signs and symptoms as we prepare to mop up any transmission chains.”

The state’s top doctor called for testing rates to more than double ahead of the school holidays.

Dr Chant said she wanted testing rates to sit above 20,000 per day during the “critical time”.

Seven new cases of coronavirus were recorded in NSW up to 8pm on Monday.

Of those, four are returned travellers in hotel quarantine, including one from Victoria. Two are linked to a known case or cluster and one case remains under investigation.

The hospitals cluster continues to grow with one of the cases linked to Concord Hospital, while another is a healthcare worker at Liverpool Hospital.

Another case, which will be included in Wednesday’s figures, involves a student at Blue Mountains Grammar School.

“The school is now closed while further tracing and cleaning is undertaken. This case will be included in tomorrow’s official numbers,” NSW Health said.

The figures come as South Australia’s premier hinted at opening the state’s borders to NSW and ACT residents.

On Monday Premier Steven Marshall said the Transition Committee would meet on Tuesday to discuss the data around coronavirus cases in NSW and the ACT but described case numbers as “looking good”.

An announcement on borders is likely to come after the meeting later on Tuesday.

“If they make a decision tomorrow authorising travel with the ACT or NSW that will be made immediately,” he said.

“We want to give as much of a leg-up to people wanting to travel for business or family reunion as quick as possible, so we won’t be delaying it.

“It could be tomorrow. I don’t want to pre-empt it because we still want to look at all the data.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has previously slammed the Queensland Government for its tough border restrictions.

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