Byron Bay close to lockdown AGAIN after infectious Sydney man flew in

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Byron Bay could be thrown back into lockdown on Tuesday morning after a Covid infected Sydney man flew in on Saturday and tested positive on Monday.

The man arrived on the Virgin Flight VA 1141 from Sydney to Ballina on Saturday morning and was infectious for two days in the Byron, Ballina and Tweed areas.

Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro admitted a return to lockdown for the area was under discussion and could be brought in within hours. 

‘We’re considering it this morning – NSW Health will take a look at the details of these movement sites,’ he told Sunrise.

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‘We know there was a lot of movement by this individual as part of their work.’

All passengers and crew aboard the affected flight are being contacted by NSW Health and will be required to get tested and self-isolate.

Further contact tracing is currently under way in the Byron Bay region too.

The incident is likely to jeopardise the NSW-Queensland border bubble just a week after it was reinstated. 

Ballina MP Tamara Smith said the area was already vulnerable given the restricted healthcare system in regional NSW.

‘We’re sitting ducks if suddenly they say, right everybody, off you go to the regions,’ she told ABC. 

‘Because we don’t even know with the modelling… let’s say, best-case scenario, we’re all sitting at 80 per cent double dose, what does that mean for us in terms of the number of ICU beds and the number of cases that you might still have?’ 

On Monday the western NSW town of Cowra was forced back into lockdown, when a nine-year-old school boy tested positive to the virus.

It follows the Albury, Lismore, Glen Innes and Hilltops local government areas.

But with several areas included in the border bubble with Queensland now visited by infectious COVID-19 cases, there are fears the travel conditions could revert back to their strictest conditions.

Students and essential workers from the LGAs have been able to travel into Queensland from September 13, in an arrangement negotiated after weeks of sparring between the Queensland and NSW governments.

It comes as NSW reported fewer than 1000 new infections for the first time in almost a month.

Some 935 new local COVID-19 cases were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday and four deaths – two people in their 60s and two in their 80s – taking the toll for the current NSW outbreak to 245.

It was the lowest number of daily infections since August 27, when the figure last dipped below 1000, but Premier Gladys Berejiklian pleaded with NSW residents to remain on high alert.

‘Even if case numbers go down, we should expect unfortunately the number of people in intensive care and the number of people who lose their lives to go up,’ Ms Berejiklian said at Monday’s Covid briefing.

‘We have had a number of cases in the last few weeks … people ordinarily get very sick in the second week of the illness.

‘I don’t want any of us to sit back and think the worst is behind us. Because, unfortunately, too many families are going to have loved ones end up in hospital, or worse.’  

More to follow 

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