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Sydney Man's Surprise Case Prompts New Restrictions

Man tests positive for a variant linked to India, but how that happened is unclear
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2021 11:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – After a month without local transmission, Australia's largest city is warning of undetected coronavirus cases after a man in his 50s tested positive Wednesday. Authorities don’t know how the Sydney resident became infected with a variant first detected in India, per Reuters. The sample matches that of a US traveler who tested positive in hotel quarantine last month, per the Washington Post, but contact tracers have found no link between the two people. Fragments of virus have also been found in sewage in several Sydney suburbs. "We know for a fact there's at least one person, if not more, walking around with the virus, not knowing they have it," New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklin said in announcing three days of restrictions. These include limits of 20 people inside a home and mask requirements in indoor public spaces, per the Guardian.

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NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was identified as a potential contact of the infected man after they visited the same cafe on Friday, per 9News. He's isolating for 14 days though he's reportedly tested negative. The man—shown to have a higher than normal viral load—had visited venues across the city in recent days, including four different stores selling barbecue supplies on Saturday and a butcher shop on Sunday. The source of his case may never be known. Authorities failed to identify the source of an August outbreak involving more than 100 cases in New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, after three months without local transmission, per the Post. New Zealand, which began allowing quarantine-free travel with NSW in April, says it will now halt that arrangement for 48 hours. (Meanwhile, Australia is taking flak for blocking citizens from returning home from India.)

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