A raft of Sydney suburbs have been urged to get tested for coronavirus after traces of the deadly virus were found in sewage.
Fragments of the virus were detected at treatment plants at Liverpool, Warriewood and North Head, the NSW Health Department said on Sunday.
The Liverpool plant includes a catchment of about 180,000 people from suburbs including Bardia, Hinchinbrook, Hoxton Park, Abbotsbury, Ingleburn, Prestons, Holsworthy and Edmondson Park.
“NSW Health urges everyone living or working in these suburbs to monitor for symptoms and get tested and isolate immediately if they appear,” a statement warned.
The Warriewood plant services about 70,000 people from the northern beaches while the North Head facility takes in a catchment of 1.3 million people from Sydney, north of the Parramatta River from western Sydney to Manly.
These detections “likely reflect” known confirmed cases in these areas, the health department said.
But it urged anyone who lives or works in the area to watch for symptoms and get tested as well as isolate if they appear.
The detections come as New South Wales recorded a week without a new, locally acquired infection of the virus.
Three cases were recorded from overseas travellers in hotel quarantine in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, according to the health department.
The results come from 11,344 tests taken in that period with people showing even mild symptoms urged to get a test.
“High testing rates are necessary to give confidence that no cases are going undetected in the community,” NSW Health’s Dr Christine Selvey said.
LIVERPOOL TREATMENT PLANT SUBURBS
Bardia, Hinchinbrook, Hoxton Park, Abbotsbury, Ingleburn, Prestons, Holsworthy, Edmondson Park, Austral, Cecil Park, Cecil Hills, Elizabeth Hills, Bonnyrigg Heights, Edensor Park, Green Valley, Pleasure Point, Casula, Hammondville, Liverpool, Moorebank, Wattle Grove, Miller, Cartwright, Lurnea, Warwick Farm, Chipping Norton, Voyager Point, Macquarie Links, Glenfield, Catherine Field, Gledswood Hills, Varroville, Leppington, West Hoxton, Horningsea Park, Middleton Grange, Len Waters Estate, Carnes Hill and Denham Court.
Englishman Alex Hales’s brutal century has inspired Sydney Thunder to a record BBL total and a 46-run win over ladder-leaders Sydney Sixers.
The Thunder posted 5-232 with Hales smacking eight sixes and nine fours in a stunning 110 from 56 balls at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
The Sixers fell well short in reply, managing 5-186, but still hold a four-point buffer from second-placed Perth Scorchers.
The Thunder’s total surpassed the BBL’s previous highest innings — the Hobart Hurricanes’ 8-223 in January 2017.
And the victory, which includes a bonus point, lifts the Thunder from fifth to third spot, with two games remaining before the finals.
The Thunder (27 points) jump the Melbourne Stars (fourth, 24 points) and Adelaide Strikers (fifth, 24 points) while the Hobart Hurricanes (sixth, 23 points) remain in the finals hunt.
Opener Hales, who remains on the outer with England’s limited overs side after he failed a drug test in the lead up to the 2019 50-over World Cup, registered his maiden BBL ton from just 51 balls.
“That is up there, for sure,” Hales said when asked if he’d ever hit the ball better.
“When you get in at this place, it’s such a good place to bat — great value for good shots, a fast outfield and smallish square boundaries.
Hales’s assault was supported by brisk cameos from captain Callum Ferguson (42 from 23 balls), Sam Billings (33 from 21) and Ben Cutting (33 from 14).
The Sixers’ daunting run chase started with a dash from openers James Vince and Josh Philippe, who took 40 runs from the initial four overs.
But Philippe (20 from 11 balls) was run out from the first ball of the fifth over, triggering a slide of 3-8 in 13 deliveries.
His teammate Daniel Hughes (one) was bowled second-ball by Cutting, who in the next over took a smart low catch in the outfield to remove the threatening Vince, whose 38 from 23 balls included seven fours.
The trio of wickets left the Sixers 3-62 in the seventh over and a successful chase was beyond them, despite the efforts of Moises Henriques (56 from 35 balls) and Jordan Silk (42 from 30).
The Thunder might have compiled the biggest BBL score, but they had some way to go when it comes to the record T20 tally.
The highest ever men’s T20 total was 3-278, when Afghanistan brutalised Ireland at Dehradun in 2019.
The biggest domestic T20 score came when Trinidad and Tobago Riders scored 2-267 against the Jamaica Tallawahs in Kingston during the 2019 Caribbean Premier League.
Former Gold Coast Titans player Bryce Cartwright and his anti-vaxxer wife Shanelle have split up after a tough year making headlines in 2020.
The 25-year-old signed a contract with the Parramatta Eels late last year for the 2021 season after relocating to NSW with his wife and their two children, Koa and Naia, for personal reasons.
While the reasons weren’t cited at the time, the pair no longer have any photos of each other on their Instagram accounts and aren’t following each other.
“I know he’s had some family dramas and he’s gone to Sydney to sort some stuff out … hopefully he is OK with his family,” Titans captain Kevin Proctor told The Daily Telegraph last September, admitting he was worried about his teammate.
That same month Cartwright told 9 News the couple had been sent vile threats from people on social media, involving their children, because of their stance on vaccinations.
“At some point it does take a toll,” he said.
“I speak to a counsellor every now and then just to clear my mind.”
Cartwright’s agent Allan Gainey, of Pinnacle Sports Management, said they wouldn’t be commenting on the split because it was a “personal matter”.
“Look, the kid is in a good spot at the moment and I want to keep him in that spot,” he said.
“He doesn’t need any publicity surrounding his personal life.”
Gainey said anyone “going through a separation, possible separation or divorce” would not want it in the media.
“It’s a personal affair,” he said.
Cartwright took a drastic pay cut in order to get another opportunity in the NRL, agreeing to a minimum-wage contract after the Titans negotiated a release when the 25-year-old made plans to return to Sydney.
The Titans said they had concerns for the star’s welfare when they let him out of his contract, reportedly worth $450,000, following headlines in May when he was granted permission to play despite refusing a mandatory influenza vaccination under the NRL’s return-to-play regulations.
He was granted the special exemption on “medical grounds” by Queensland’s Chief Medical Officer Jeannette Young.
His high profile stance attracted plenty of support from Australian stars, including former Home And Away actor Isabel Lucas.
But many lashed out at the couple after Mrs Cartwright shared several Instagram posts from Taylor Winterstein – wife of former NRL star Frank Winterstein – comparing the plight of anti-vaccination advocates to Jews during the Holocaust.
In May, Mrs Cartwright posted an image of Holocaust victim Anne Frank with the caption: “The people who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law, the people who killed her were following it.”
Despite the backlash, Mrs Cartwright didn’t back down on her assertion, sharing more Holocaust posts later.
While those posts have been deleted, in August she shared another Holocaust meme seemingly related to the coronavirus pandemic.
While Mrs Cartwright has removed any photos of her husband from her account, the only remaining picture of him is the one she posted in May detailing their anti-vaccination stance.
The couple maintained they were not “anti-vax” but pro-choice.
In a telling Instagram post on October 9 she shared a billboard sign that read, “Stop f***ing with people who make you feel average”.
On Christmas Day she posted a photo with her kids saying, “Merry Christmas all, love from me and my babies”, while Cartwright also posted a solo shot with the kids for Christmas.
Some of Mrs Cartwright’s Instagram posts have been censored because of misinformation warnings.
In a July post, she wrote, “It’s just a vaccine. Just a vaccine that holds no one responsible if you’re injured by it. Just a vaccine that hasn’t undergone the rigorous testing it needs to. Just a vaccine that isn’t vegan, isn’t certified halal, isn’t organic but is still apparently a one size fits all. How is the same vaccine for a fully grown man suitable for a new born child? Will this vaccine undergo a double blind placebo? (the GOLD STANDARD for any pharmaceutical product).”
While COVID-19 vaccine trials have moved forward considerably since then, even at the time they were undergoing rigorous testing.
Claims they are unsafe have been repeatedly refuted and are backed by scientific evidence and countless studies.
The company, which was founded in 2014 and has just 22 staff, will assist Novavax in providing data to the Australian regulator ahead of approval, as well as helping plan for delivery and rollout of doses across the country.
Biocelect chief executive Karl Herz, a local pharmaceuticals industry veteran who has more than two decades of experience with companies including Sigma Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi and GSK, said his company was “extremely pleased” to be chosen to work with Novavax.
“As we await the data from Novavax’s phase III clinical trials, we are very hopeful the Novavax vaccine candidate will be approved by regulatory authorities and play a significant role in protecting the Australian and New Zealand populations against COVID-19,” Mr Herz said.
Novavax executive vice president John Trizzino said the company had reached an “important milestone” in gaining a provisional determination from the TGA and was glad to be able to work with Biocelect. The two firms have previously worked together on other Novavax research projects.
“Novavax is committed to advancing NVX-CoV2373 through the development and regulatory process quickly and we appreciate Biocelect’s support on our behalf,” he said.
Doses of the vaccine are expected to be available in the second half of 2021, should phase III trials be successful. Novavax has a range of global production hubs and it is not yet known where doses for Australia and New Zealand will be produced.
Sydney’s south-west is on high alert after virus fragments were found in sewage at a Glenfield treatment plant.
“While this could reflect known returned travellers in the area, everyone living or working in Airds, Ambarvale, Appin, Bardia, Blair Athol, Blairmount, Bow Bowing, Bradbury, Campbelltown, Casula, Claymore, Currans Hill, Eagle Vale, Englorie Park, Eschol Park, Gilead, Glen Alpine, Glenfield, Gregory Hills, Holsworthy, Ingleburn, Kearns, Kentlyn, Leumeah, Long Point, Macquarie Fields, Macquarie Links, Menangle Park, Minto, Raby, Rosemeadow, Ruse, St Andrews, St Helens Park, Varroville and Woodbine should monitor for symptoms and get tested and isolate immediately if they appear,” NSW Health said in a statement.
The department urged residents of those areas to remain “extra vigilant”.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has lashed out at the Victorian Government saying state border restrictions should have been dropped “quite a while back”.
In a daily press conference where the NSW government confirmed six new local cases of COVID-19, Ms Berejiklian said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews had not made contact with her about potential areas of Sydney being able to travel to the southern state in the coming days.
The new cases in NSW are linked to a man who was identified as a positive case on Saturday, however the state’s government is urging for an increase in daily testing rates to ensure there are no further outbreaks.
Ms Berejiklian said the border closures between Victoria and Sydney are against Commonwealth health advice, which on Sunday confirmed there were no COVID-19 hot spots in Australia.
“He‘s not been in touch with me at all but I also say that (border opening) should have occurred quite a while back because we don’t have a hot spot in New South Wales,” Ms Berejiklian said of her Victorian counterpart.
“We are, of course, dealing with a result of an outbreak from a month ago, but I think everybody would agree closing a border of such significance is a really big deal and I stress that we waited until Victoria had in excess of — I think it was 180 cases they had the day after we announced the border closure.”
Victoria and all other states and territories closed borders to Greater Sydney following the northern beaches cluster outbreak which occurred just before Christmas.
“I can‘t understand why the border was closed in the first place and why the attitude of certain governments is what it is,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“There isn’t anywhere in Australia that’s currently being designated as a hotspot.
“So why shouldn’t people be able to return home? And why shouldn’t Australians be able to move around freely?”
On Saturday, Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed travel restrictions to Brisbane would be dropped and parts of Greater Sydney would be permitted to enter the state in the next “couple of days”.
Selected local government areas in Sydney’s west are expected to still have travel restrictions in place while local case numbers are being reported.
“There will be a significant shift in the next couple of days,” Mr Andrews said.
“These are not easy decisions … [but] I’m not about to cherry pick and only follow the advice that’s convenient from a political point of view.”
The Victorian government has not confirmed if the six newly acquired cases in Sydney would change its timeline in easing border restrictions.
People from greater Sydney are not allowed to enter Victoria without an exemption or permitted worker permit.
Those trying to enter via land border will be turned away, but those trying to cross the border via land or sea will face a fine of up to $4957.
If Mr Andrews follows through on his suggestion of easing border restrictions to Sydney, the city would likely become an orange zone, which would require all those crossing the border to apply for a permit and be tested within the first three days of arrival.
He said this was “to manage the flow of returning Australians and other travellers who have been potentially exposed to the new variants” of COVID-19, including the highly contagious strain behind Brisbane’s Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster.
“Current international passenger caps in Victoria and South Australia and arrangements in the Northern Territory are considered manageable and will remain in place,” Mr Morrison said.
The new caps will be around 1500 weekly for NSW, and 500 for Queensland and WA.
Chartered flights for vulnerable Australians will continue.
From January 22, the Government will require travellers to Australia to return a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to departure.
EMIRATES’ LAST FLIGHTS TO THREE AUSSIE CITIES
* Dubai to Brisbane EK430 on January 16
* Brisbane to Dubai EK431 on January 17
* Dubai to Sydney EK414 on January 18
* Sydney to Dubai EK415 on January 19
* Dubai to Melbourne EK408 on January 19
* Melbourne to Dubai EK409 on January 20
“Customers holding tickets with final destinations Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will not be accepted for travel at their point of origin after the completion of the above flights,” Emirates said in a statement.
“Emirates regrets any inconvenience caused. Affected customers should contact their travel agent or Emirates contact centre for rebooking options.”