10 May 2021

Covid-19: New South Wales reports no new cases, fears remain over missing link

3:30 pm on 10 May 2021

New South Wales reported zero Covid-19 cases for a fourth straight day, but concerns about new infections have remained as the missing link in a case that has reinstated restrictions continued to elude officials.

Medical officers walk past a sign board of Covid-19 testing center on Bondi Beach in Sydney on 6 May, 2021.

Medical officers walk past a sign board of Covid-19 testing center on Bondi Beach in Sydney on 6 May, 2021. Photo: AFP / Saeed Khan

Australia's most populous state on Sunday extended social distancing curbs in Sydney by a week after authorities could not find a transmission path between an infected overseas traveller and a resident in his 50s who tested positive last week.

"There has been a lot of work to identify how the transmission event occurred. Unfortunately, we haven't found that missing link," NSW state Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told reporters in Sydney.

Chant said the man may have contracted the virus through brief contact with a currently unidentified person who was infectious.

"So, because of that, we are still concerned that there may be chains of transmission in the community that are yet unrecognised," Chant said.

Quarantine-free travel between New South Wales and New Zealand - put on pause by the recently found cases for three days - was resumed as the clock ticked over from midnight this morning.

More than 5.3 million people living in and around Sydney were ordered to wear masks on public transport and at indoor venues, while house gatherings were limited to 20 guests until 17 May.

NSW on Monday opened a mass vaccination hub in Sydney aiming to administer up to 30,000 vaccines every week to ramp up a national vaccination programme that has missed its initial dosage targets.

With just more than 29,900 Covid-19 cases and 910 deaths, Australia has fared much better than many other developed countries but its countrywide immunisation drive has hit major roadblocks.

More than 2.65 million total vaccine doses have been administered as of Saturday, far short of the 4 million pledged by the end of March.

- Reuters / RNZ

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