Pub cluster fans fears of second wave in Australia
Sydney: Australia’s most populous state reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with a growing cluster at a pub used by freight drivers travelling the country adding to fears of a second wave of the virus.
The new cases in New South Wales come after neighbouring Victoria state last week forced about five million people back into lockdown after a surge of new cases of COVID-19. Australia has avoided the high COVID-19 casualty numbers of other nations with swift and strict measures, recording fewer than 10,000 cases in total, or about a sixth of the daily cases seen in the United States in recent days.
However, the authorities are worried about rising cases of community transmission. This accounted for eight of the 14 new cases in New South Wales, while the rest were people who have returned from overseas and are already in hotel quarantine or have returned from Victoria.
The bulk of these community transmission cases were people who recently visited a pub in southwest Sydney, the Crossroads Hotel, taking the cluster to 13 in all.
“The concern is that this hotel is used by freight drivers who are transporting essential supplies across the country,” deputy chief medical officer Michael Kidd told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“They are not being tested.”
In a bid to curtail the spread, the authorities are urging anyone who visited the pub to isolate for two weeks and get tested.
Long lines of cars waited for more than three hours yesterday outside a drivethrough test clinic at the venue.