As at 8pm, Friday, 20 March 2020, an additional 83 cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed since our update of 8pm 19 March, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in NSW to 436.
The majority of cases diagnosed in NSW were either acquired overseas or are a contact of a known case. Seventy-four cases have been locally acquired without an identified source of infection. Investigations to establish any links between cases in order to prevent further spread are ongoing.
*A single male case without a recorded date of birth has been notified and is currently being followed up.
The Minister for Health and Medical Research has signed a public health order to declare Lord Howe Island as a public health risk area in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 importation into this community.
The order commences at 5am on 22 March 2020. It restricts access to Lord Howe Island to residents of Lord Howe Island, health service workers and other essential service workers. The order also directs people on Lord Howe Island into home quarantine for 14 days after arrival – with some exceptions made for essential workers. The order extends to 18 June 2020 but may need to be extended further.
Seven people have been confirmed with COVID-19 after attending a Sydney Church of Christ service on 8 March 2020 at Ryde Civic Centre. More than 300 people attended this service. Close contacts of the cases have been identified and placed in self-isolation. The church is communicating with the congregation via the church Facebook page and newsletter. Participants who attended this service are being asked to be alert for symptoms of COVID-19 and seek health assessment if this occurs.
As part of the additional measures put in place to monitor cruise ships, NSW Health has identified four separate cruises affected by COVID-19, in addition to the Ruby Princess reported previously.
The risk assessment processes developed by NSW Health for cruise ships have been far in excess of those in other jurisdictions.
All travellers from international cruises must self-quarantine for 14 days after disembarkation.
In the first, NSW Health identified a 67 year old man who had travelled from Canada before joining a cruise on the Ovation of the Seas ship and was diagnosed with COVID-19. There are no known linked cases, no evidence of an outbreak of respiratory illness on the ship or people who developed symptoms on the last day of the cruise. All passengers are being contacted and advised to self-quarantine and be on the alert for symptoms. The ship left Sydney on 11 March and returned to Sydney on 18 March and did not stop at any overseas locations. The ship is now at sea with only crew on board.
In the second, a case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in a passenger from the Voyager of the Seas, a young woman in her 20s. The ship left Sydney on 25 February, visited the South Pacific and New Zealand, and returned to Sydney on 7 March. The ship is now at sea with only crew on board. There are no known linked cases, and no evidence of an outbreak of respiratory illness on board. It will be 14 days on 21 March at 6.30am since the ship arrived. Although self-isolation of well passengers is no longer required, all passengers are being contacted with advice to seek COVID-19 testing if unwell.
In the third, the same ship, the Voyager of the Seas, embarked passengers on the evening of 7 March and set sail that night. It arrived back in Sydney after visiting islands in the South Pacific. A passenger on this cruise, a 66 year old man who is a South Australian resident, was confirmed to have COVID yesterday. He is in a Sydney Hospital. There are no known linked cases and no evidence of an outbreak of respiratory illness on board. All passengers are being contacted to ensure self-quarantine, and advised to monitor for symptoms.
In the fourth, New Zealand has advised that a male passenger on the Celebrity Solstice, which docked in Sydney on 20 March, was reported today to have COVID-19. The case had joined the ship at the beginning of the cruise in Auckland on 10 March and left it in Dunedin on 15 March. There are no known linked cases and no evidence of an outbreak of respiratory illness on board, all passengers are being contacted to ensure self-quarantine and to provide advice to monitor for symptoms.