Coronavirus Covid 19: A mystery in the middle of the NSW block as authorities search for patient zero

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NSW Virus Collection: Health authorities are still looking for Patient Zero. Video / NSW Government

Health authorities are still searching for patient zero in the virus group in NSW that has prompted states to impose new quarantine requirements as cases are expected to spike over the weekend.

Genomic sequencing indicates viral spread at an event held at Avalon RSL on December 11th. Eight of those present later tested positive for the virus. Then two people from that group visited the Avalon Bowling Club two days later, and they are part of a group of 16 who tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

The infected people then spread throughout the city, visiting cafes, restaurants and public toilets in Cronola, Woolloomooloo, Toramura, Darling Point, Eveli, Rosebury, Bundy Junction and Riverston.

New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Prejiklian warned yesterday that if the cases are not suspended in the coming days, it could mean more restrictions.

“If we can get that in the next two or three days, we will all be able to have a much better birthday, but if we don’t get over it in the next few days, that could mean more restrictions on the path.”

New South Wales is urging all residents to watch for symptoms and take the test as a new list of affected places is published in New South Wales and Queensland.

Residents of Northern Beaches have been told to stay indoors as much as possible over the weekend, as the list of potential sites stretches from Sydney’s northern shores to Bondi Junction, Cronola and Queensland.

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New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazard announced that 14 of the 17 bars on Northern Beaches will voluntarily close for the weekend on Friday. He said that most churches and places of worship have also taken a decision to close their doors.

“My concern is that we haven’t found a direct transmission route,” said New South Wales Health Director Kerry Chant.

Without this information, it is difficult for call trackers to know that they have “shut down every transmission line”.

People line up at the Covid-19 test site at Mona Vale Hospital on December 18 in Sydney. The number of positive Covid cases is expected to rise over the weekend. Image / Getty Images
People line up at the Covid-19 test site at Mona Vale Hospital on December 18 in Sydney. The number of positive Covid cases is expected to rise over the weekend. Image / Getty Images

Professor Ian Mackay, a virologist at the University of Queensland, said finding the original source is crucial.

He said: “If we can find the status of the index, then this means that we can go forward from there to make sure that all contacts are identified.”

“If we can’t find the source, there is always a possibility that we may have missed some cases.”

It’s also important to know how to ensure that there are no vulnerabilities in the system that can see cases creep in from the outside undetected.

Cars line up as they approach the pop-up Covid-19 test site in Sydney's Pittwater Park as testing ramps up. Image / Getty Images
Cars line up as they approach the pop-up Covid-19 test site in Sydney’s Pittwater Park as testing ramps up. Image / Getty Images

“Where did this case come from? Is it through the leaked quarantine system? We assume it is because we don’t seem to have cases in Australia. But we might do it,” he said.

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