Thousands ordered to isolate in NSW over quarantine outbreak

NSW health authorities are scrambling to track down thousands of people who they fear may have come into contact with the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19.

NSW Health issued an alert just before 12.30pm on Friday urging more than 7000 people who attended areas of concern in Victoria to isolate immediately.

Melbourne is currently dealing with a growing COVID-19 outbreak linked to one of its quarantine hotels, with at least 13 cases now linked to the cluster.

Anyone in NSW who was at Melbourne Airport, Terminal 4 (Jetstar) from 4:45am – 2pm on February 9 has been ordered to immediately isolate, get tested and remain in isolation for 14 days from the date you were there.

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“Out of an abundance of caution, NSW Health is asking anyone who is a household contact of someone who visited Terminal 4 on 9 February at the above time to stay in isolation until that person receives a negative result,” NSW Health said in a statement.

Anyone who also attended any terminal at Melbourne Airport on February 7 and 8 must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

“NSW Health is currently contacting approximately 7,000 people who have entered NSW from Victoria after attending these venues of concern, to ensure they are aware of the requirements,” NSW Health said.

Anyone in NSW who has visited any of the venues at the times listed on the Victorian Health website have been warned they are “at risk of COVID-19” and must follow health advice.

The warning from NSW came less than an hour before Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced all of Victoria would go into a stage four lockdown from 11.59pm Friday to 11.59pm on Wednesday.

There will only be four reasons for Victorians to leave their homes: shopping for necessary good and services, care giving or for compassionate reasons, essential work or permitted education and exercise for two hour per day.

Victorians must stay within 5km of their home, unless it is for permitted work or essential items that cannot be attained within that radius.

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Masks must also be worn at all time outside a person’s home and all private gatherings are banned.

Schools will close but will remain available to vulnerable children during the lockdown period.

Funerals can involve no more than 10 people and weddings are not permitted unless on compassionate grounds.

Hospitality venues will be required to move to takeaway only.

“These restrictions are all about making sure that we respond appropriately to the fastest-moving, most infectious strain of coronavirus that we have seen,” Mr Andrews said.

“I know this is not the news that Victorians want to hear today. I know it’s not the place that we wanted to be in.

“However, we’ve all given so much, we’ve all done so much. We’ve built something precious, and we have to make difficult decisions, and do difficult things, in order to defend what we’ve built. I am confident that this short, sharp circuit breaker will be effective. We will be able to smother this. We will be able to prevent it getting away from us.”

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