Sydney news: Fugitive back behind bars after 30 years on the run; fresh Newmarch COVID-19 scare

© Provided by ABC Health The man escaped Grafton Correctional Centre by hacking through the bars on his cell window. (ABC North Coast: Samantha Turnbull)

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

Fugitive hands himself in after 30 years

A man has been charged 30 years after a daring prison escape.

Police said that Darko Desic, now aged 64 years, turned himself in to police in Dee Why on Sunday and was charged with escaping from lawful custody.

Desic escaped Grafton prison using a hacksaw and bolt-cutters on his prison cell window in 1992, and had been on the run in Sydney ever since. 

He was refused bail at Central Court on Tuesday and was due to reappear in front of a judge later this month. 

Newmarch in lockdown again

There’s a new COVID-19 scare at Sydney’s Newmarch House nursing home in the city’s west after a GP who has tested positive for the virus visited the facility three times in the past week.

The doctor was confirmed as having COVID-19 yesterday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Anglicare, which runs Newmarch House, said the nursing home was placed into precautionary lockdown, with residents isolating in their rooms.

He said a meeting was underway with the nursing home and health officials and that Anglicare was hoping that residents and staff could be swabbed last night.

Two of the residents who the GP visited had been fully vaccinated while the third person had received one dose of the vaccine.

Last year, 19 elderly residents from the home died after a COVID-19 outbreak.

Crisis refuge waiting for results

Nearly 40 people at a homeless crisis accommodation refuge in inner Sydney, are awaiting COVID-19 test results, after a man who has been staying there tested positive for the virus.Contact tracing is underway after the man’s positive test was confirmed yesterday.Other homeless people staying at the Surry Hills refuge are being told to stay in their rooms until their test results come back.Wesley Mission’s chief executive, Stu Cameron, said it was a vulnerable community that was at particular risk during the current outbreak, but that residents were cooperating and complying with the lockdown conditions.

“We have 39 of the 40 rooms currently occupied with residents, so they’re all in isolation at the present time having been tested and are awaiting further instructions from local health,” Mr Cameron said.

Man assaulted at COVID-19 clinic

A man has been seriously assaulted at a COVID-19 testing clinic at Auburn in Sydney’s west.

Police say a man in his early 20s punched and kneed a 55-year-old man after a verbal dispute yesterday.

The older man was taken to hospital with a fractured hand, cuts to his face, and bruising to his ribs.

Police are appealing for public assistance after the younger man drove away from the clinic after the incident. 

Sydney health figures

The state’s latest health care report shows hospital emergency departments were overloaded with record numbers of people turning up for care in the three months leading up to the Delta outbreak.

According to the Bureau of Health Information, demand for healthcare services between April and June rose above pre-pandemic levels.

It said that, during those months, emergency department and ambulance patients tended to wait longer for their care than they did before the arrival of COVID-19.

The bureau’s senior director, Hilary Rowell, said nearly a third of patients arriving at the state’s hospitals were not treated on time.

“And it does continue a trend of increasing demand on emergency departments that we can see over five years in the report,” Ms Rowell said.

“Fewer than seven-in-ten have their treatment start on time and spend four hours or less in the ED, both lower than before the pandemic.”  

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