As it happened: NSW records 291 new local COVID-19 cases; Victoria records four new cases as state’s sixth lockdown begins, Queensland records 10 new local cases

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As it happened: NSW records 291 new local COVID-19 cases; Victoria records four new cases as state’s sixth lockdown begins, Queensland records 10 new local cases

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How the day unfolded

By Daniella White

That’s all for tonight. Thanks for sticking with us through another busy news day.

Here’s a wrap of what you need to know today:

    We’ll be back tomorrow morning.

    Latest posts

    Liverpool apartment block locked down

    By Daniella White

    A Liverpool apartment block has been locked down after 14 residents tested positive to COVID-19.

    Police and health workers arrived at the Campbell Street complex on Friday night and secured the building.

    The South Western Sydney Local Health District said further investigation was underway to determine the number of affected households.

    A Liverpool apartment complex is under police guard after 14 people tested positive to COVID-19

    A Liverpool apartment complex is under police guard after 14 people tested positive to COVID-19Credit:Google Street View

    “Testing of residents will be done in their apartments, as they cannot leave during their
    isolation period,” as spokesperson said in a statement.
    “The NSW police force and private security are ensuring the safety of the building.

    “Food and other services, including daily welfare checks, will be provided to residents safely during their 14-day quarantine period.

    “Tailored support services will be provided to all isolated residents
    as needed.“

    Earlier this week, a Campbelltown complex of 101 units was forced into a 14-day lockdown, as was a social housing apartment block last week.

    Special needs school closed after staff member tests positive

    By Daniella White

    Fowler Road School, in Sydney’s west, has been closed for cleaning after a staff member tested positive to COVID-19.

    A staff member at Fowler Road School has tested positive to COVID-19

    A staff member at Fowler Road School has tested positive to COVID-19Credit:NSW Education

    A NSW Education spokesman said staff and students identified as close contacts have been notified and asked to self-isolate for the required period.

    “We will continue to work closely with NSW Health to ensure that all necessary health advice is adhered to,” he said in a statement.

    The school, located in the suburb of Merrylands, is a special needs school catering for students from kindergarten to Year 12

    How the day unfolded

    By Daniella White

    That’s all for tonight. Thanks for sticking with us through another busy news day.

    Here’s a wrap of what you need to know today:

      We’ll be back tomorrow morning.

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      Cafe, Priceline added to NSW’s close contact list

      By Daniella White

      A number of new locations that were visited by confirmed COVID-19 cases have been added to NSW’s exposure list tonight.

      Anyone who attended the following venues is a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since they were there:

      • Fairfield, Bondeno Café on July 24 between 8am and 3pm, July 26 between 8am and 3pm, and July 27 between 8am and midday.
      • Penrith, Priceline, Southlands Shopping Centre on August 2 between 9.45am and 7.15pm and August 3 between 8.45am and 5.15pm.
      • Hamilton, Corset Bar and Supper Club on July 28 between 7.30pm and 10pm.

      • St Marys, Easy Script Compound Pharmacy on August 2 and 3 all day.

      • Forest Lodge, Fish and Co Tramshed on July 24 between1.20pm to 2pm.

      A number of new casual contact venues of concern have also been added to the exposure list. The full list is available here.

      Remaining residents at Summer Hill aged care facility transferred to hospital

      By Mary Ward

      The remaining 27 residents at the Wyoming Summer Hill aged care facility, in Sydney’s inner west, will soon be transferred to local hospitals to allow for the facility to be deep cleaned, the operator said on Friday afternoon.

      The residents have returned negative tests and all been fully vaccinated. Daily testing is ongoing.

      The remaining residents at the Summer Hill aged care facility have been moved to hospital.

      The remaining residents at the Summer Hill aged care facility have been moved to hospital. Credit:Louie Douvis

      They will join 27 residents who have already been transferred to hospitals after testing positive to COVID-19.

      One new case was detected overnight.

      A total of 34 cases are now associated with the facility, including five carers and two contract cleaners.

      The virus was introduced to the facility by an assistant in nursing employed by an agency who worked across three facilities, health authorities confirmed earlier this week.

      New COVID exposure sites, wastewater detections in Victoria

      By Cassandra Morgan

      Victorian health authorities have identified several new exposure sites and detected COVID-19 in wastewater in Melbourne’s east.

      The Chief Health Officer’s update, issued on Friday evening, said there had been five “unexpected detections” of coronavirus in the last fortnight in the catchment that includes Balwyn, Camberwell, Canterbury, Mont Albert and Surrey Hills.

      “Anyone who lives, works or has visited the above suburbs in Melbourne’s east between 26 July and 4 August is urged to watch for the slightest of COVID-19 symptoms and get tested as soon as possible if any symptoms develop,” the update said.

      New exposure sites added on Friday evening include two schools that had students test positive for the virus.

      Heathdale Christian College announced in the early hours of Friday that a year 6 student at its Werribee campus, about 30 kilometres south-west of Melbourne, tested positive.

      Authorities later announced a student at the Warringa Park specialist school in Hoppers Crossing, the next suburb over from Werribee, also tested positive. Health Minister Martin Foley said during Friday’s COVID update the school “looks after some of our most vulnerable kids”.

      The schools are now “tier-2″ exposure sites, meaning anyone who has visited them during the following specified timeframes has to get tested for COVID-19 and isolate until they receive a negative result.

      However, some people at the schools will be considered “tier-1” or close contacts, meaning they have to get tested and quarantine for 14 days, regardless of the result. The Department of Health will contact those people directly.

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      The tier-2 sites announced on Friday evening, including the schools, are:

      • Heathdale Christian College, Werribee Campus - between 8.30am and 4pm, Tuesday, August 3 to Thursday, August 5 (includes all staff, students, families and visitors)
      • Warringa Park School, Warringa Crescent Campus, Hoppers Crossing - between 8.30am and 4pm, Tuesday, August 3 to Thursday, August 5 (includes all staff, students, families and visitors)
      • Oporto, Tarneit Shopping Centre, Tarneit - Monday, August 2 between 5.30pm and 6.30pm
      • United Petroleum, Truganina - Monday, August 2 between 5.10pm and 5.40pm
      • Western Fresh Fruit and Veg, Wyndham Village Shopping Centre, Tarneit - Tuesday, August 3 between 4.15pm and 4.55pm
      • Aldi, Tarneit - Wednesday, August 4 between 4.45pm and 5.30pm

      The remaining sites added on Friday evening are tier-1. They are:

      • Active Medical Centre, Caroline Springs - Monday, August 2 between 2.15pm and 3.40pm
      • Dorevitch Pathology Collection, Caroline Springs - Monday, August 2 between 2.15pm and 3.40pm

      A full list of Victorian exposure sites can be found here.

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      WA Premier flags support for mandatory mine worker vaccines

      By Peter de Kruijff

      WA Premier Mark McGowan said on Friday – two days after a fly-in, fly-out contractor who had recently been at a Fortescue site tested positive to COVID-19 – he thought it would be reasonable for the resources industry to head in the direction of mandatory vaccinations.

      Mr McGowan previously talked about leaving it up to the companies about whether a mandatory vaccine rule should be put in place for mine sites but has since altered his stance.

      WA Premier Mark McGowan has flagged his support of mandatory vaccines for mine workers

      WA Premier Mark McGowan has flagged his support of mandatory vaccines for mine workersCredit:Peter de Kruijff

      “It’s an industry where everyone lives together in close proximity and so you have the FIFO camps and the like or even if they’re drive-in, drive-out, often people stay in close proximity,” he said.

      “So if one person gets it you can instantly spread it to hundreds of others and we saw that happened in the Northern Territory recently with the gold mine, so I think it’s actually reasonable in that environment and bearing in mind that reasonableness test lawyers talk about to require vaccination.

      “That’s a further conversation, probably a bit of a longer-term conversation, because the initial ones we’re worried about are people working in aged care, the people working in hospitals, our essential police staff, our port workers, those sorts of people who are exposed regularly.“

      The Premier’s comments came after the boss of iron mining company Fortescue, Elizabeth Gaines, told reporters at the industry’s annual Diggers and Dealers conference the company should have a role in administering the vaccine to the broader population, but she was not necessarily keen for mandatory vaccination on mine sites.

      ‘I thought I was going to die’: Victorian teacher hit by COVID emerges from ICU

      By Cassandra Morgan

      A Victorian teacher who recently emerged from intensive care after catching COVID-19 has spoken about the random nature of the virus, and how he thought he was going to die from it.

      Richard, who teaches at Bacchus Marsh Grammar about 60 kilometres north-west of Melbourne, caught the virus from a friend who lives at Maribyrnong’s Ariele Apartments.

      The pair attended a Carlton versus Geelong game at the MCG on July 10, not realising the apartment complex had been visited by removalists from Sydney who had the virus.

      Speaking to Rafael Epstein on ABC Melbourne’s Drive program on Friday afternoon, the 51-year-old said he was fit and healthy before he caught the virus.

      He said he’s now COVID-free, but has pneumonia and has lost 15 kilograms in muscle mass since getting the virus.

      Describing the football catch-up, he said,“[It was] a zero case day in Melbourne that day, I remember it, and 10 days later I was in intensive care.The sheer random nature of it.”

      Richard said he felt fine at work a couple of days after he went to the AFL game, but then on Tuesday, he felt a little scratch in the back of his throat and went to get a COVID test.

      While in the line waiting to get tested, his friend told him his apartment complex had gone into lockdown because it was visited by the Sydney removalists.

      On day seven of having the virus, Richard rang the ambulance.

      “I was really scared because I couldn’t breathe - I couldn’t get my breath back, so I knew it wasn’t good,” he said.

      “The first two days [in intensive care] are a bit of a blur. I felt like I was hallucinating.

      “The second night I was in there, I genuinely thought, ‘I can’t see a way out of this.’”

      “A doctor about 3am in the morning held my hand and looked me in the eye and said: ‘You’re strong enough. We’ll get you through this.’”

      Richard urged everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they could, because “you never know”.

      He’d had one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine when he caught the virus. “I’m a 51-year-old, I look after myself, lift weights in the gym, all that sort of stuff, and it has absolutely floored me,” he said.

      NSW needs ‘circuit breaker’: Chief Medical Officer

      By Daniella White

      The nation’s Chief Medical Officer says NSW needs a “circuit breaker” in order for cases to significantly decline, saying he’s spoken to the state government about what more could be done.

      Professor Paul Kelly said there were “worrying signs” in terms of unlinked cases and new chains of transmission.

      Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says NSW needs a “circuit breaker”

      Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says NSW needs a “circuit breaker”Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

      “There is no sense that is heading rapidly towards zero which is what remains our national approach at the moment,” he said at this afternoon’s press conference with the Prime Minister.

      “There is clearly a need for a circuit breaker. I’ve had many discussions with my colleagues in NSW around that.

      “What else could be done to increase the speed of people being diagnosed, the compliance with those public health measures and crucially, an increase in vaccination in those areas and so, NSW needs to stay the course and look for those new ways of increasing and improving that situation.”

      Despite entering its sixth week of lockdown, cases in Greater Sydney continue to climb while infections have also spread to regional NSW.

      The state recorded 291 new local COVID-19 cases on Friday.

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      Pedestrian bridge closed following ‘unsafe gatherings’ in Sydney’s south

      By Megan Gorrey

      A popular pedestrian bridge linking suburbs in Sydney’s south has been closed due to COVID-19 fears after the local council said more than 100 people were ordered to leave nearby parklands last weekend.

      Sutherland Shire Council said Sydney Water had agreed to close the Como bridge, which connects the Como Pleasure Grounds with Oatley on the opposite side of the Georges River, indefinitely from Friday afternoon.

      Crowds at popular exercise routes around Sydney, including the Bondi to Bronte track and the Bay Run, have come under the spotlight of local councils and police during the pandemic.

      A Sutherland Shire Council spokesman said the bridge’s closure, supported by police, was aimed at limiting the number of people using the pedestrian and bike path to access recreational areas.

      “Police and council staff were called upon to move on more than 100 people last weekend for stopping, sitting and gathering in crowds at Como Pleasure Grounds,” the spokesman said.

      “We understand this is a popular exercise route for both Sutherland Shire and Georges River residents, however we must prioritise the safety and wellbeing of both communities and take all steps to reduce the risk of the further spread of COVID-19.”

      In a Facebook post earlier on Friday, the council said the closure was prompted by “unsafe gatherings”.

      “This is an extremely dangerous time for the transmission of COVID-19 in the community. With over 290 new cases reported this morning, we ALL have a responsibility to manage our movement for essential activity such as exercise,” the post read.

      The council said it would work with government agencies to coordinate the staged reopening of the bridge and other community facilities as soon as it was safe to do so.

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