Pub clus­ter fans fears of sec­ond wave in Aus­tralia

Fiji Sun - - AUST/NZ/PACIFIC NEWS -

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.

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