Urgent coronavirus alert in Sydney as 18,500 residents are told to get tested NOW after disturbing find in sewage pumping stations
- More than 18,000 Sydneysiders have been told to get tested for coronavirus
- New South Wales reported zero COVID-19 cases for fourth day on Wednesday
- The renewed testing push follows virus fragments being found in wastewater
More than 18,500 Sydney residents have been warned to get tested for COVID-19 after fragments of the virus were found in untreated water at two sewage pumping stations.
One of the pumping stations treats water from 5,680 residents in the suburbs of North Kellyville and Rouse Hill while the other serves 12,650 peoples across Rouse Hill, Box Hill, The Ponds, Kellyville Ridge, Parklea, Quakers Hill and Acacia Gardens.
Meanwhile, New South Wales has recorded its fourth straight day of zero cases of local COVID-19 cases as thousands of businesses across the state were put on notice they have less than two weeks to electronically register every customers’ details.
Crowds are once again flocking to Sydney beaches such as Bondi (pictured in October) as COVID-19 restrictions are further eased and the weather warms up
NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello says pen and paper no longer cut it and QR codes will be mandatory from November 23, warning any business without the digital system will be fined.
‘We can’t respond to a pandemic with paper. We must be fast and precise, and digital is the best way forward. There are no excuses,’ he said on Wednesday.
The list of businesses requiring the system is vast, ranging from restaurants, to nail and beauty salons, tattoo parlours, pubs, clubs, funeral homes, party buses, brothels, corporate events, weddings and receptions.
‘We have to move away from the walk-in culture to the check-in culture,’ he said.
Earlier, NSW Health reported four COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
In the 20,586 tests undertaken in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night – twice the number of tests done the previous day.
NSW Health continued to urge anyone with symptoms – especially people in the Southern Highlands and southwestern Sydney – to get tested.
And as NSW prepared to take on Queensland in the second State of Origin rugby league match, Premier Gladys Berejiklian was in no mood for the traditional interstate friendly rivalry about the event.
She says she won’t be texting Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about it and remains frustrated by her refusal to open the border to Sydneysiders, arguing that both states’ economies were suffering.
‘I think I’ve made my case clear. And she’s made her position clear. And I don’t think that she’s going to budge,’ she told ABC TV.
‘It’s a lot at stake. I think that the goalposts that Queensland has set for opening the borders to NSW is unrealistic, and I just wish that they would act in a more compassionate and common-sense way.’
There was ‘absolutely no health advice which says that NSW poses a danger to anybody’.
‘Quite the contrary. We have tested our system. Queensland hasn’t. WA hasn’t,’ she said.
She noted that from November 23, every Australian citizen will be welcome in NSW without quarantine, and the state is also welcoming New Zealanders.
‘We’re really encouraged by the progress we’re making. But let’s not be in a situation where people lose jobs, are frustrated and separated from their families over Christmas unnecessarily. It’s just ridiculous,’ she said.