Sydney Confirms First Community Covid Case in Over 50 Days

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A Sydney hotel quarantine worker tested positive for Covid-19, ending the Australian city’s run of 55 days without a case of local virus transmission.

The 47-year-old man had worked at two Sydney quarantine hotels for returned travelers, the Sofitel Wentworth in the central business district and the Mantra Sydney Central in Haymarket, officials said at a press conference Sunday.

Sydney Confirms First Community Covid Case in Over 50 Days

The worker had received the first of two doses of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine. Officials are now contacting all known contacts and have issued a list of venues the guard visited.

“I think the message from this to everybody is: Don’t be complacent,” New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said. “We are in the middle of a once-in-a-100-year pandemic, we need to take it seriously.”

Israeli researchers found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine gives 85% protection from symptoms after just one dose. Pfizer doesn’t think one dose will work, Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said last month.

Hazzard said it was too early to say whether the case would affect the planned easing of some restrictions on Mar. 17, which tentatively include steps like allowing stand-up drinking at indoor venues.

Strict border controls and the hotel quarantine system have helped Australia all but suppress the virus, making near-normal life possible. However, the quarantine hotels are a potential vulnerable point in the system and have been cited as the source of multiple outbreaks.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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