Australia Sydney wharfies sweating on COVID-19 tests
How Australia's gone from being envy of world to global embarrassment
Australia was once the envy of the world by almost completely eradicating the virus after swiftly shutting the borders and introducing a series of Covid-safe restrictions. There have been 29,437 just Covid infections across the country and 910 total deaths - a tiny fraction of the death rate in other nations. Among those tough stances taken to control the virus spread was a ban on almost all outward travel, with special permission required and rarely granted.
A group of Sydney dock workers are sweating on the results of their coronavirus tests after boarding a ship now found to have been carrying infected sailors.
The Inge Kosan, an LPG tanker, was docked in Port Botany for a day from March 31 after arriving from the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby.
It then sailed for Vanuatu on April 1.
"Health authorities in Vanuatu have confirmed that 12 out of 13 crew members from the ship, including [a] deceased crew member, tested positive for COVID following testing in Port Vila," NSW Health said in a statement on Friday.
Govt denies it is planning to scale back rapid COVID testing amid concerns over false positives
But senior advisers are concerned that as few as 2% to 10% of positive results may be accurate in areas with low Covid rates such as London.The government has denied it is planning to scale back rapid coronavirus testing after reports claimed senior officials are concerned about false positives.
Some 15 wharfies boarded the vessel when it was at Port Botany more than three weeks ago and six tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday night.
The remaining nine are awaiting their results which are expected on Friday.
NSW Health said none of the crew of the Inge Kosan left the ship when it was in Sydney and the wharfies who boarded it were wearing protective gear.
"Procedures were in place to support COVID safe practices in ports, including on vessels," NSW Health said.
"Further investigations are ongoing as to whether an additional three workers also boarded the ship."
PNG is in the midst of an outbreak of COVID-19 that has already led to the deaths of more than 90 people.
Meanwhile, NSW authorities are still trying to locate four people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at a Sydney quarantine hotel.
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The country is struggling to contain a deadly second wave.But this time around, authorities are reluctant to reimpose a nationwide stay-at-home order. Add to that a flailing vaccination campaign and the spread of new virus variants, and India’s immediate future looks grim.
Up to 40 returned travellers and some hotel staff may have been exposed to the virus earlier this month.
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NSW Health has contacted 36 of those people and is urgently trying to find the other four.
The potential quarantine breach was revealed Wednesday night after three returned travellers who stayed at the Mercure Hotel in Sydney were diagnosed with the same South African strain of the virus.
The travellers were family members who had stayed in connecting rooms on the 10th floor of the Mercure Hotel, while the third person stayed in another adjacent room.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said some hotel guests had since travelled to other states and territories and authorities there had been alerted.
Victorian health authorities identified six people as close contacts linked to the Sydney hotel and said they will be tested on Thursday.
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Anyone who stayed on the 10th floor of the Mercure between April 7 and April 12, should get tested and self-isolate until 14 days after they left quarantine.
Staff potentially exposed will also have to self-isolate.
Authorities are still investigating how the breach occurred.
A separate case of transmission between hotel rooms at the Adina Apartment Hotel at Town Hall is ongoing, and all contacts located so far have tested negative.
Elsewhere, Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday toured the state's first mass vaccination hub at Sydney Olympic Park in Homebush.
The site is expected to be open for business by mid-May to dispense about 30,000 vaccinations a week.
GPs will remain the first port of call for those receiving the AstraZeneca jab, but those who want to be vaccinated in a state facility or don't have a GP will be able to get vaccinated at the hub.
Those with underlying health issues are encouraged to go through their GPs.
The Homebush hub will predominantly administer Pfizer vaccines, which are trickier to store and distribute because they have to be stored at extremely low temperatures.
Some other vaccine sites across the state that have been distributing AstraZeneca jabs will be converted to allow them to dispense the Pfizer vaccine.
More than 180,000 COVID vaccinations have already been administered by NSW Health.
The world could be doing much more to help India .
Countries can’t go it alone in tackling Covid-19.Now, there are so many people with severe Covid-19 that health care workers like him in several cities have to make difficult decisions about which patients to move to the ICU, who gets put on a ventilator, whom to give oxygen — if those options are even available.