Local News

Hunter New England Health confirms no indication people are travelling from Sydney to the district for COVID-19 testing

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UPDATE 1:30PM:

There is one additional case of COVID-19 in the Hunter New England Health District: Returned traveller to the Hunter New England Health District has now spread COVID-19 to a second close contact.

Hunter New England Health has confirmed there is no indication that people are travelling from south-west Sydney to the Hunter for COVID-19 testing.

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery had raised concerns this week that she'd received calls from hospital staff that there were people travelling to get tested here rather than in the hot spots of Sydney potentially putting our community at risk.

HNEH has confirmed though that out of the thousands of tests that have been done, only four have a residential address in south-west Sydney. 

They have said in a statement:

"We would like to assure the public that, of the thousands of tests undertaken at the John Hunter Hospital and University of Newcastle COVID-19 clinics this month, only four people tested have reported a residential address in the South Western Sydney area."

"There is also no indication these people travelled to Newcastle specifically for the purpose of COVID-19 testing. It is possible they developed symptoms while visiting the Newcastle area for work or recreation, and attended their closest clinic."

"A number of COVID-19 clinics are available to residents of South Western Sydney Local Health District, as well as in surrounding Local Health Districts such as Sydney, Northern Sydney, and South Eastern Sydney."

More restrictions

Also today, the NSW Government has announced further COVID-19 restrictions for the state.

From 12:01am Friday, 24 July the following rules will be in force as NSW enters a state of ‘COVID normal’.

  • Compliance measures introduced to pubs will be extended to restaurants, bars cafés and clubs. This includes:
             - Limiting group bookings to a maximum of 10 people;
             - Mandatory COVID-Safe plans and registration as a COVID-Safe business; and
             - A digital record must be created within 24 hours.
  • Weddings and corporate events will be limited to 150 people subject to the four square metre rule and registration as a COVID-Safe business. Strict COVID-Safe plans must be in place and high-risk activities including choirs and dancing must not occur; and
  • Funerals and places of worship will be limited to 100 people, subject to the one person per four square metre rule and a COVID-Safe business registration.

The rules on gatherings remain the same: 20 guests inside the home and 20 for gatherings in a public place. However, as the home is a high transmission area, the NSW Chief Health Officer strongly recommends a COVID-Safe precautionary approach of limiting visitors to the home to 10 people as a general principle.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this tightening was to reduce the risk of uncontrollable break-outs and ensure NSW stays open for business.

“Unfortunately we must live with COVID-19 and the way it has changed our lives,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“These rules will give businesses and the community a degree of certainty into the foreseeable future, and help NSW avoid uncontrolled virus spread.”

Tags: coronavirus