‘We have to assume there are others’: Premier braces for spread after positive case

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she is bracing for more community cases of COVID-19 after a man tested positive having visited a number of venues in Sydney’s east while potentially highly infectious.

The man, who has no known links to the virus or hotel quarantine, returned a positive result on Wednesday morning.

Aged in his 50s, the man had not recently returned from overseas, did not work in quarantine and had no contacts with the hospital system, prompting urgent genomic testing to determine any genetic links to cases in the quarantine system or in other states.

Ms Berejiklian said the mysterious origins of the man’s infection meant she expected other cases would be detected.

“If there is one case, and we don’t have an immediate source, or there’s no direct connection that we can establish, we have to assume there are other cases,” she said.

“Our response would be proportionate to the number of cases that are established, the geographical location of the cases and whether or not they are in isolation,” Ms Berejiklian said.

The man visited several venues while infectious, including Event Cinemas in Bondi Junction and Figo Restaurant at Rushcutters Bay last Friday. His close contacts are self-isolating.

Ms Berejiklian thanked the man for checking in to venues, presenting for testing and doing “everything right,” but said it highlighted the persistent threat of the pandemic.

“We have to maintain our social distancing. We have to make sure we have good hand hygiene. We need to get tested with the mildest of symptoms, and very, very importantly and significantly, we need to use the QR codes,” she said.

“The strong message is: QR codes work. We need them to keep us safe. And this is a good wake-up call, we can never be complacent.”

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said genome sequencing would be a crucial avenue of investigation to determine how the man caught the virus.

“The next ring of testing around this case will actually tell us whether he’s passed it on,” she said.

Anyone who attended one of the listed venues at the times specified is asked to immediately get tested and isolate until NSW Health provides further information.

NSW Health said this applied to everyone, including those who may have been partially or fully vaccinated.


One of the man’s two immediate family members has returned a negative result, and the results are pending for his other family members.

Health authorities will be testing the man’s close contacts in an effort to identify undetected chains of transmission.

“In this case, we’re really interested in how this person acquired the infection to understand the broader risk in the community,” Dr Chant said.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged people in eastern Sydney, including those who had received one or two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, to come forward for testing if they develop symptoms.

A new pop-up clinic has been established at Albion Street Centre Laverty Pathology in Surry Hills and will be open from 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday, with weekend
hours of operation to be advised.

Existing clinics are also offering extended hours at Prince of Wales Hospital, St Vincent’s Hospital, Bondi Beach Drive-Through, Bondi Junction Laverty Pathology and Rose Bay Laverty Pathology.

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