NSW goes it alone with open borders

With the weather warming up, NSW Health is calling on people to maintain COVID-safe behaviours.
With the weather warming up, NSW Health is calling on people to maintain COVID-safe behaviours.

For the ninth consecutive day NSW has recorded no new cases of locally acquired COVID-19 as South Australia grapples with a cluster that has grown to 17.

NSW Health reported there had been no local transmission in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday night while two cases were reported in overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.

The NT, WA, Tasmanian and Victorian governments immediately reacted to the development in Adelaide with caution, with the Territory and Victoria declaring SA a coronavirus hotspot and the Apple Isle and WA ordering anyone who had arrived from there in the past week to self-isolate.

However, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian insisted the NSW borders would remain open.

"We need to learn to live with COVID. You can't shut down borders and disrupt lives every time there is an outbreak and disrupt businesses.

"We need to have confidence, not just in our own system, but the system in other states to be able to get on top of the virus," she told reporters on Monday.

"It is how you deal with those outbreaks and we are confident if that happened in NSW we would get on top of it and similarly SA authorities are getting on top of it," she said.

Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant had been in contact with SA authorities and advised there was no need for NSW to impose any restrictions at this stage, she said.

"The advice I received this morning is that the SA government is on top of it, that they have isolated a number of people, that there are specific circumstances involved with this outbreak.

"I am not suggesting it is not concerning. It is. If we had 17 cases overnight in NSW I would be very, very concerned," the premier said.

If the situation did escalate out of control she would reconsider and in the mean time NSW authorities would ensure that anybody coming to NSW had not visited any of the Adelaide venues where the virus was spreading.

"Our health authorities don't believe we need to change any of our policy settings, but obviously if the numbers were in hundreds or there were concerns that there were strain that were undetected of course we would look at our situation," she said.

She also indicated she would be changing the work from home advice that had been in place since March.

"We are looking at providing incentive and even for people to start getting back to the office if they are not already there," she said.

Meanwhile NSW health said one additional case had been added to the NSW total cases of COVID-19 but it was an old infection.

The person from western Sydney, was linked to an earlier case, had tested for COVID-19 on October 23, but returned a negative result.

However, subsequent serological testing, indicated that the person previously had COVID-19, most likely earlier in October.

Australian Associated Press