Hundreds self-isolating as latest COVID cases spread
A board member at a prestigious Sydney yacht club is the missing link in a spiralling COVID-19 cluster forcing hundreds of people to self-isolate.
Vice Commodore at the Cruising Yacht Club Australia Noel Cornish and his partner contracted the virus after attending both the Apollo and Thai Rock restaurants in Potts Point in the same week - which NSW Health now believe connects outbreaks at the two venues.
The yacht club in Rushcutters Bay was closed on Tuesday for deep cleaning, as health officials warned anyone who attended the venue at specific times on Thursday, Friday and Sunday monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms.
A staffer at the Apollo restaurant who tested positive for COVID-19 has also been linked to the cluster, which has extended its reach directly into Prime Minister Scott Morrison's office.
Mr Morrison's Adviser Nico Louw is in isolation after attending the Apollo at the time a person infected with coronavirus was dining.
Mr Louw had a COVID-19 test as a precaution, which was returned as negative.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister confirmed Mr Louw would remain in isolation for 14 days.
"The acting Chief Medical Officer advised that because the staff member has no COVID-19 symptoms, the prime minister is clear to continue with his plans," she said.
Anyone who attended the Apollo restaurant on July 22, 23 or 25 has now been ordered to isolate regardless of symptoms.
NSW Health will open a new pop-up clinic on Wednesday from midday in Rushcutters Bay Park in light of the yacht club cases.
In a letter to members, seen by The Daily Telegraph, the club's Commodore Paul Billingham revealed the entire team of directors and staff have sought a coronavirus test and will isolate until they have a result.
The venue will be closed until at least August 1.
In a statement the club confirmed it was working with NSW Health on the "next steps" as part of its COVIDSafe plan.
"The CYCA's top priority remains the health and safety of our Members, guests, staff and the community at large," the statement said.
NSW Health is calling on people across the state to redouble their efforts to stop the virus and avoid non-essential travel and gatherings after the state recorded 14 new cases on Tuesday.
Passengers on Jetstar flight JQ506 from Melbourne to Sydney who sat in rows 10 to 14 have been ordered to isolate for a fortnight after a woman on board tested positive for COVID-19.
Meanwhile an inner-city gym underwent a major deep clean after NSW Health confirmed a COVID-19 case had attended a group workout session there.
Fitness First in Potts Point shut their doors on July 20 for cleaning and members considered close contacts of the case have been contacted and asked to isolate.
NSW Police fined four people $1000 for breaching isolation orders in the Public Health Act and charged another two people for allegedly failing to comply with the laws yesterday.
A 37-year-old Kiama woman was fined and her 36-year-old partner has been issued a notice to face court after the couple - who recently returned from Victoria with their two children - allegedly repeatedly left home during their mandated 14-day quarantine period.
A 39-year-old woman and 44-year-old man stopped at the border near Euston were both fined $1000 and sent home to Victoria after police discovered they did not have a permit to be in NSW.
A 41-year-old woman had travelled from Byron Bay to Liverpool, and a 37-year-old Ashmont man recently returned from Victoria were also fined for not isolating.
THAI ROCK NOW UNDER POLICE INVESTIGATION
NSW Police has launched a major investigation into exactly how "lightning" struck twice at two Thai Rock restaurants owned by the same family.
The owner of the Thai Rock restaurants in Wetherill Park and Potts Point has denied that he or his wife have tested positive for coronavirus and said he is wondering how "lightning" struck twice.
It is understood police are working on solving that question by checking all CCTV footage around the Potts Point eatery to see exactly who visited it.
NSW Health reported 14 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday with four linked to Thai Rock in Wetherill Park - making it the state's single biggest cluster with 75 cases.
A worker at the Thai Rock in Potts Point has also tested positive and yesterday The Apollo Greek restaurant down the street was closed for deep cleaning after a worker there tested positive.
Thai Rock owner David Boyd was in quarantine with wife Stephanie and daughter Chelsea on Tuesday day and did not return calls. He previously said that the two restaurants had "completely different teams".
"Only Steph and I move between restaurants and we hadn't been at Potts Point during the period of investigations," he said.
Customers of Thai Rock in Wetherill Park have taken to the restaurant's social media pages to claim there was a lack of COVID-19 protocols at the establishment responsible for the coronavirus cluster.
"You did not take everyone's names and contact details. You only had peoples' names if they booked it," a customer wrote on Facebook.
"The place was full of people with no social distancing at all. Felt very uncomfortable in the restaurant and wish we hadn't stayed."
Thai Rock management insisted it followed protocols.
QLD PREMIER SAYS NSW IS TOO RISKY
Queenslanders have been told not to go to NSW in the strongest sign yet the border could be shut again amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk issued the stern new warning on Tuesday, claiming now was the time to stay in Queensland.
"I would advise Queenslanders at the moment to not travel to NSW," she said when asked if Queenslanders should go to Sydney.
"Now is not the time to leave Queensland. Now is the time to stay in Queensland. Stay safe."
It comes just days after the state's chief health officer Jeannette Young urged Queenslanders to consider the risks of travelling to NSW as outbreaks could rapidly spread and "get out of control".
Gold Coast police turned away another 47 people at the border on Tuesday, on the heels of a record 57 refused entry on Monday. The latest figures brought to more than 750 the number of people turned back at the Gold Coast checkpoints since the border reopened on July 10.
Asked whether it would be safer to close the borders again, Ms Palaszczuk said police and emergency services were carefully manning the border.
"We are watching NSW incredibly closely," she said.
Originally published as Hundreds self-isolating as latest COVID cases spread