Australian airport worker tests positive for COVID-19

Source: Xinhua| 2020-12-16 11:12:49|Editor: huaxia

SYDNEY, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- A worker at Australia's Sydney airport has tested positive for COVID-19, marking the country's first locally acquired case in nearly two weeks, officials said on Wednesday.

The 45-year-old man worked for Sydney Ground Transport in Alexandria, ferrying international aircrews to and from the airport.

New South Wales (NSW) Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the man began displaying symptoms on Saturday before being tested on Tuesday.

Contact tracing was underway to determine risk to the broader community, while Hazzard revealed that in response to the incident all international aircrews arriving in the state will have to quarantine as is required by other international arrivals.

Due to the shorter turnaround periods of flight crews, generally 24 to 72 hours, the time frames would differ from the standard two weeks, however Hazzard said that pending discussions, quarantine conditions would be implemented on international aircrews.

"While the virus seemed to be contained in terms of community transmission, our most exposed areas are principally around our borders," Hazzard said.

With such a long period without a local infection some Australians have let their guard drop regarding the virus. Health officials warned not to become complacent during the Christmas period when the number of shoppers and people attending public events increased.

"This year we're asking people to avoid crowded shopping centres," NSW Health's Chatu Yapa said in a statement.

"If the shopping centre is too crowded, you should consider returning at an off-peak time, doing your gift shopping online or shopping locally at community businesses."

Hazzard downplayed the instance of one positive case for NSW, saying that with high infection rates overseas it was to be expected, however echoed concerns of complacency during the holiday period.

"The best Christmas gift you can give to your family, your friends and your community is to go and get tested if you have any symptoms. And do it straight away," he said. Enditem