NSW records 14 new coronavirus cases as Queensland infections linked to Wacol cluster climb | Australia news

New South Wales has recorded 14 new coronavirus cases as the state’s police commissioner revealed 12 security guards have been sacked from the hotel quarantine program.

Also on Saturday, Queensland reported four new coronavirus cases, all linked to the Wacol cluster.

Eight of the NSW cases were linked to the growing Sydney CBD cluster, bringing the total number of cases in that hotspot to 23. Among the new cases were two household contacts of cases linked to Liverpool hospital and one was a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

NSW Health is still investigating if the Sydney CBD cluster originated in the City Tattersalls Club gym and spread to workplaces in the city and households across Sydney and the Central Coast.

On Saturday, the NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller, said he had established a committee to crack down on quarantine hotels and security guards after more than 350 guests in mandatory quarantine at Sydney’s Travelodge had to be moved to another city hotel.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller speaks to the media during a press conference in Sydney, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. NSW residents living in towns near the Victorian border have been warned not to travel to other parts of NSW given the southern state’s COVID-19 outbreak. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) NO ARCHIVING



The NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller, says 12 security guards have already been sacked from the hotel quarantine program. Photograph: Bianca de Marchi/AAP

“I have set up a new committee that will audit not just the security guards but they will also audit the hotels in terms of the cleanliness and the cleaning, and the sorts of briefings that hotel staff are getting,” he told News Corp.

Fuller said 12 security guards had already been sacked from the hotel quarantine program with some caught sleeping on the job or making TikTok videos while another tried to work for two separate security companies in a 24-hour period.

Due to the widening spread of the CBD cluster across multiple locations in the Sydney and Central Coast, NSW Health has advised aged care homes be locked down with no visitors for two weeks.

“As a precaution NSW Health is extending existing visitor restrictions by strongly advising people who live or work in the Greater Sydney metropolitan area and Central Coast to refrain from visiting aged care facilities until 12 September,” NSW Health said.

That means no visits on Father’s Day on 6 September.

“There is currently no evidence of any cases in aged care residents or staff in aged care facilities in NSW,” NSW Health said. “These are precautionary steps to prevent the entry of Covid-19 into this vulnerable setting.”

In Queensland, the health minister, Steven Miles, announced on Saturday that one trainee from the Queensland Corrective Services Academy in Wacol and three household contacts of trainees had tested positive in the previous 24 hours.

A senior trainer at the academy had been diagnosed with the virus on Thursday following the outbreak at the nearby youth facility.

The cases came as health restrictions limiting the number of people who can gather without a Covid-19 safety plan to 10 were extended to the Gold Coast after two Pimpama residents linked to the cluster were diagnosed with the virus.

The new rules will come in to effect in the Darling Downs from 8am on Monday, after health alerts were issues for the Southern Hotel and Queens’ Park Markets in Toowoomba.

No more than 10 people were already allowed to gather in Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan without a Covid-19 safety plan, following the initial outbreak at the youth detention centre.

The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, announced on Friday that Schoolies Week had been cancelled less than three months before it was scheduled to begin.

“This is a mass event,” she told reporters. “It poses a high risk.”

Concerts and large parties will be banned, with limits on gatherings at beaches and apartment complexes.

“It’s a tough year for everyone,” she said. “Hopefully, things will get better by the end of next year and we can have a double celebration.”

The Gold Coast mayor, Tom Tate, said he backed the decision but conceded it would be tough on local businesses, such as accommodation providers.

“There will be costs in their business operations and I sympathise … because to get new business in 85 days is near impossible,” he said.

Tate said the event should have been cancelled sooner and called on tourism promoters to encourage families to the region, to replace the students.

Source: The Guardian

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