Two NSW schools closed after positive virus tests

 

Two schools in Western Sydney are closed on Tuesday after students tested positive to coronavirus.

Greenway Park Public School in Carnes Hill, west of Casula, will be non-operational while NSW Health undertakes contact tracing and the school is deep cleaned.

The school said in a statement that all staff and students should self-isolate after two students returned positive COVID-19 tests. The before- and after-school care program will also be cancelled and students will be working from home.

Bonnyrigg High School announced early on Tuesday it would also be closed after NSW Health advised them of a student's positive coronavirus test.

School facilities are being deep-cleaned and students and staff are being told to self-isolate as contact tracing is underway.

It comes as all but three of 17 flights scheduled to arrive from Melbourne to Sydney today were cancelled, as NSW grapples to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Qantas pulled 14 of its flights this morning, as concerns grow over Melbourne arrivals spreading the virus while taking taxis or Ubers leaving the airport and following orders to self-isolate for 14 days.

Former Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Kerryn Phelps urged NSW to close its air border with the virus-plagued state on Q&A last night.

"I'm concerned that there are still planes coming in from Melbourne to Sydney without any checking and with people just being asked to self-isolate in Sydney when they arrive," she said.

"We don't know how many people are actually doing the self-isolating when they arrive."

Seventeen new cases of the virus were recorded in NSW on Monday, including four family members in Wagga Wagga.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday issued new medical advice, urging Sydneysiders to wear masks in enclosed spaces like public transport or supermarkets, inside places of worship, in hotspot areas or when in a customer-facing job.

PANDEMIC LEAVE

Workers in coronavirus disaster zones will get $1500 of "pandemic leave" if they are forced to isolate, in a desperate bid to stop people leaving home when they are sick.

Victoria is the only state to currently qualify for the new lump sum payment announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday, however the cash will be available for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic should other regions suffer serious outbreaks.

In a worst-case scenario where any parts of NSW are declared a "disaster", residents who are required to isolate for 14 days, but have no sick leave, will be eligible for the $1500 payment.

Mr Morrison said people would be able to apply on the phone and be processed "fairly quickly".

 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the pandemic leave payment, designed for those forced to isolate. Picture: Gary Ramage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced the pandemic leave payment, designed for those forced to isolate. Picture: Gary Ramage

 

"That means that those who need to self-isolate as a result of an instruction by a public health officer - there is no economic reason for you to go to work," he said.

"What we're dealing with here is a disaster and we need to respond on the basis of the way we provide support in the midst of disasters." The "disaster" declaration is similar to those used during bushfires and floods.

During the summer bushfires large parts of the NSW coast were declared disaster areas, becoming eligible for federal government support.

To entirely eliminate the risk of potentially infectious people continuing to go to work, the pandemic leave can be accessed multiple times.

 

Many businesses in Victoria haver been shut down. Picture: David Caird
Many businesses in Victoria haver been shut down. Picture: David Caird

 

But the prime minister said he hoped that would not happen "too often".

"Hopefully people will only have to go through that on the single occasion, but we know that isn't always the case," he said.

Mr Morrison said the pandemic leave would cover Australian citizens and residents.

In Victoria the state government is providing the payments to those on short-term visas who otherwise can't ­access federal support.

It is hoped the leave will put an end to people ignoring isolation orders, with Victoria last week revealing a shocking one in four people with COVID-19 were not at home when the Australian Defence Force doorknocked to check in on them.

 

Those already getting JobKeeper or JobSeeker will not be eligible. Picture: David Caird
Those already getting JobKeeper or JobSeeker will not be eligible. Picture: David Caird

 

The $1500 will not be available to people who are already receiving JobSeeker or JobKeeper or have normal sick leave accrued to cover the isolation period.

Tradie Matt Hogan said he would focus on his TAFE construction studies if work dried up but is worried about some of his colleagues.

"Even though the federal government is providing money to workers because of lockdowns, there is a delay in payments and some workers living from paycheck to paycheck will be financially stressed," he said.

 

Originally published as PM offers people cash to stay at home during pandemic


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