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New South Wales records five new COVID-19 cases as premier warns virus is circulating in community’

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned coronavirus is circulating in Sydney as the state reported five new infections on Thursday.

Of the new cases, two were in returned travellers in hotel quarantine, while three infections are residents in south-western Sydney. 

One of the locally acquired cases is a household contact of a previously reported infection linked to the July funerals outbreak. The cluster has now climbed to 74 cases. 

NSW Health said they are investigating the two other infections – an outpatient in her 60s at Liverpool Hospital and a man in his 20s.  

Ms Berejiklian urged all residents in south-western Sydney with ‘the mildest of symptoms’ to get tested immediately. 

‘Because we know the virus is circulating in those communities and our anxiety is that we want to reduce the number of unknown cases,’ she said. 

There are currently 111 active coronavirus cases in NSW, including eight patients in intensive care and five on ventilators.  

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said NSW Health is investigating whether the infection at Liverpool Hospital is associated to previous cases linked to the hospital.   

Dr Chant said there were 28,767 tests conducted in the 24-hour reporting period until 8pm on Wednesday. 

Authorities are still investigating how a security guard at the Marriott Hotel in Circular Quay contracted the virus, but have no indication there had been a quarantine breach.

Genome sequencing has linked the security guard’s infection to a returned traveller who was in quarantine at the Marriott and tested positive on August 2. The guard worked at Flemington Markets on August 9 and overnight on August 11 and 12.

All people who attended the markets at those times have been told to monitor for respiratory symptoms and self-isolate for 14 days.

The man, who worked on the same hotel floor as the infected returned traveller, is also believed to have worked at Parramatta Local Court while infected.

Ms Berejiklian was questioned over when she would look to open the border with Victoria.

The premier did not give a timeline but said she cannot please everyone during the pandemic.  

‘I still remain anxious about the unknown cases we have in south-western Sydney. We know the virus is circulating, but certainly I think to date we can look back and think the decisions we made at those times were the right ones,’ she said.

‘I remember getting criticised when we closed the Victorian border because I’d waited too long and now I’m getting criticised that the border is there at all. 

‘So I’ve accepted and acknowledged, in a pandemic, I’ll never be able to please everybody all the time. And that’s OK. I’m completely comfortable with that.’

Ms Berejiklian said she understood certain communities would suffer as a consequence but the decisions made are for the ‘safety and well-being’ of residents. 

‘We’re trying our hardest to get the right balance,’ she said.  

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