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Victoria has recorded its lowest daily total of new coronavirus cases for more than two months as New South Wales recorded three new cases – all of them emergency department healthcare workers.
Victoria recorded 41 new cases and nine deaths on Monday, the day after the premier, Daniel Andrews, announced that the stage 4 lockdown would be extended in Melbourne for two weeks and laid out a roadmap for easing restrictions.
Queensland has recorded two new Covid-19 cases.
The deputy premier, Steven Miles, said the first is a woman in her 20s, a household contact of a known case. The second is a woman in her 30s and is a healthcare worker at the Ipswich hospital.
There are 25 active Covid-19 cases in Queensland.
Miles said health authorities had tested 662 people at a pop-up clinic on Russell Island after a woman on the island was diagnosed with coronavirus at the weekend.
In Sydney, the three healthcare workers tested positive over the 24 hours until Sunday evening. One person who visited one of the emergency departments has also since tested positive, and will be included in the statistics for Tuesday.
One of the healthcare workers worked at the Concord hospital emergency department on 1 September between 7pm and 7am while potentially infectious. The visitor now diagnosed with Covid-19 attended the department that day. The remaining two worked at the Liverpool hospital emergency department on 2, 3 and 4 September.
All three emergency department infections stem from one previously diagnosed healthcare worker, who worked at Concord on 1 September from 2pm until midnight, and at Liverpool on 3 September from 8am to 6pm.
The three workers reported having no symptoms while at work and they wore personal protective equipment while caring for patients.
The NSW chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said authorities were examining whether there could have been fomite transmission, whereby the virus is transmitted through touching the same computer or other items.
“It’s actually very hard to never touch your face,” she said. “[In these cases] there isn’t that clear-cut direct contact without a surgical mask.”
She added that people should “still feel safe in attending emergency departments”.
In Canberra, Scott Morrison called Victoria’s extension of restrictions “crushing news” and described Andrews’ plan as hopefully being only “a starting point”.
“The plan that was outlined yesterday, I hope, is a worst-case scenario,” the prime minister said. “What I can’t help but be struck by is that, under the thresholds that have been set in that plan, Sydney would be under curfew now.
“Sydney doesn’t need to be under curfew now. They have a tracing capability that can deal with outbreaks. That’s why I say it’s important that we work on building that tracing capability in Victoria.”
Earlier Andrews said: “We have done as much as we possibly can. There’s 100,000-plus people going back to work quite soon.”
He told reporters that the drop in the number of cases was proof that restrictions are working, but said rushing to reopen the state would undo the progress made.
“On 5 August, we had 725 cases, on 7 September, we have 41 cases,” he said. “These numbers are coming down, this strategy is working. We are bringing a sense of control to this and we’ll drive these numbers down further.
“We simply can’t open up as quickly as everyone would like us to. I would like to open up much more quickly than we have … but none of us have the luxury.”
He also clarified that the 5km travel limit does not apply to the new single-person bubble, where people living alone can have one nominated person visit in a “social bubble”.
“The curfew does apply but the 5km limit does not,” he said. “So much like partners being able to spend time with each other and move freely between each other’s properties, when you’re together, though, that for the purposes of the curfew, say, that is essentially your home.”
The state’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, said the single-person bubble applied to only one nominated person, but that people could travel both ways between two houses or residences, including when people lived with families.
He added that there was no formal nomination process for the nominated person but “people will have to bear in mind that whoever they nominate is that person until we move through to the next step”.
Sutton also said the dates in October and November set for further relaxations could be brought forward depending on how the state does in handling the virus.
Sewage testing had shown there was evidence of Covid-19 in the suburb of Apollo Bay, where there were no active known cases, he said. The government is urging residents of the suburb to get tested if they have symptoms.
“Apollo Bay’s the only place where there’s that mismatch of no known active cases and a positive detection,” he said.
“It might be someone who’s recovered but never got tested but is still shedding the virus in faeces, which can occur after someone’s recovered. But it might be someone who passed through Apollo Bay for whatever reason.”
In NSW, Chant said the government could potentially allow year 12 students to dance at end-of-year formals, and would come up with a final plan for safe formals by the end of the week.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Victoria records 41 coronavirus cases and nine deaths as NSW reports three new cases | Health