Alerts issued for flights, more venues as Bondi cluster reveals state’s QR code gaps22nd June 2021
One, a woman in her 20s, worked at the Westfield and was in the centre during exposure times, although not at any specific store visited by a known case. NSW Health confirmed the woman contracted the virus through fleeting contact with one of the infectious people as they moved around Bondi Junction. The other, a year three student at Waverley’s St Charles’ Primary School, had no known links to the cluster although investigations were ongoing.
The child is the first true mystery case of the cluster, which began when a limousine driver who had transported international air crews to their police-managed hotel quarantine visited a number of locations including the Westfield and Vaucluse cafes while unknowingly infectious.
The Herald understands the results of police investigations into circumstances of the limousine driver and the broader arrangements with airport drivers are expected to be announced by Monday.
Flight, venue alerts as COVID testing surges
The sharp growth in cases on Tuesday prompted a surge in testing numbers at sites in the city’s east, with people reporting long queues of hundreds of cars.
While drive-through testing sites at Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction were due to close at 10pm, NSW Health said no one would be turned away and testing may continue into the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Some people near the end of the Bondi Beach testing queue on Tuesday night were being diverted to Bondi Junction.
Other new COVID-19 exposure sites were announced in Sydney’s CBD and east on Tuesday evening.
Anyone who was at Wallabies Thai at Mascot on Saturday between 11.30am and 12pm, the Chanel fragrance and beauty store at Westfield Bondi Junction on Friday from 12pm to 12.25pm, Starbucks at Westfield Bondi Junction on Friday from 11am to 12pm or levels ground, 1 or 2 of the ANZ building at 20 Martin Place on Thursday from 11.45am to 3.15pm needs to immediately get tested and self-isolate.
Anyone who visited Totti’s Bondi on Saturday between 5pm and 6.30pm is considered a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.
Meanwhile, people who attended The Royal Bondi (other than Totti’s) on Saturday between 5pm and 6.30pm, and Woolworths in Spring Farm on Sunday between 9.30am to 10am, are considered casual contacts of a case and must get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
People who shopped at Mascot Central Shopping Precinct between Friday and Tuesday should monitor for symptoms and get a test if they develop.
In addition, anyone who was at Bondi Junction Westfield or its car park at any time during the week of June 12 to June 18 has now been asked to get a test, after previous advice only concerned people on the June 12-13 weekend. Only people who attended a specific exposure site in the centre or have symptoms need to isolate.
“I’ve certainly detected, just in my wandering through the city, a degree of apathy,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard said of QR code use.
Mr Hazzard said authorities “may be knocking on [the] door” of businesses asking who had visited and retail stores needed to have accurate records.
Fleur Brown, chief of industry affairs at the Australian Retailers Association, said retailers recognised QR codes were “invaluable” for public safety but their use was a shared responsibility between customers, shops and police or health authorities.
“The key challenges are around enforcement, which is a matter for the appropriate authorities and not something that can be taken on by retail staff themselves,” she said.
A flurry of parents in masks arrived to collect their children from St Charles’ on Tuesday afternoon, some saying they had learnt of the case from the morning’s press conference.
Parent Isabel Batson said there was no point being panicked as it could have happened at any school.
“The school has been great,” she said. “I feel the situation could happen anywhere, at any school. It’s life.”
She added the school had a nurse on site who was testing children if parents wanted, but Ms Batson said she wanted to be with her child when his test occurred. With school holidays a week away, she added their plans would hinge on doing the right thing.
John and Yvett Manus, picking up their year 1 daughter Mila, had just undergone testing after being present at the Bondi Westfield last week. They said they would now have to get tested again and likely cancel their Gold Coast school holiday trip.
“Whilst we have been self-isolating, we’ve also been in the community, going to the shops and seeing grandparents. It’s hard,” Mr Manus said. “I am concerned not just for us as a group but also for the people we see.”
Sydney Catholic Schools said the school would move to remote learning for the remaining three days of term two.
There were 28,645 tests reported to 8pm on Monday, compared to 25,252 on Sunday.
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