Australia’s NSW scrambles after locally-acquired COVID case

Man from Sydney’s eastern suburbs is first to acquire the virus locally in more than a month.

Australia has managed to almost eradicate COVID-19 locally with a robust testing and tracing regime [File: Loren Elliott/Reuters]

Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) on Wednesday has reported its first locally acquired COVID-19 case in more than a month, sending authorities rushing to trace the source of the virus.

A man in his 50s who tested positive for the new coronavirus had visited a cinema, restaurants, a service station and a butcher in Sydney’s eastern suburbs while not knowing he was infectious, authorities said on Wednesday.

The infected person has not travelled overseas recently and does not work in a high-risk job such as in hotel quarantine or hospitals, NSW state Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told reporters in Sydney.

“So all of the usual routes where we would expect someone to have acquired the infection are not clear,” Chant said. Close contacts have been asked to undergo tests and self-isolate.

Australia has largely contained the coronavirus outbreak through snap lockdowns, border controls and speedy contact-tracing systems, with just over 29,800 cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began.

It has reported zero cases on most days this year.

Source: Reuters