Police have placed an armed guard outside a hostel in Byron Bay to lock down 81 guests and staff after an unvaccinated employee tested positive for Covid.
It is believed the woman may have infected all of the rooms at the Aquarius Inn on the NSW north coast before the alarm went off.
Now, police have cordoned off the building without anyone being allowed out after all guests and staff were considered close contacts by NSW Health, which made the crisis worse.
Everyone in the hostel could now face at least 14 days of isolation if they haven’t been vaccinated, and will be tested multiple times throughout the lockdown.
Police set up an armed guard at a hostel in Byron Bay (pictured) to lock down 81 guests after an employee tested positive for Covid
Police have cordoned off the building and no one is allowed in or out as testing continues (pictured. A guest on the grounds of the property)
Even double-bitten customers and staff will need to stay at the hostel for the next seven days without leaving while they are being monitored and tested, before they can walk freely if they are negative on the sixth day.
The unvaccinated employee who triggered the alert is said to have come from Victoria to Byron to work at the hostel.
A guest from North Queensland told the ABC: “She’s probably been in every room, so yeah …”
“I don’t want it, it’s pretty scary, pretty serious,” a Melbourne man shouted from his balcony at the hostel.
Double-pricked guests and staff will be required to stay at the hostel (pictured) for the next seven days without leaving while they are monitored and tested
Staff continue to work at the hostel under lockdown conditions (pictured)
The lockdown comes as thousands of school-leavers are due to arrive in Byron Bay and other parts of northern New South Wales over the next month from this weekend.
Guests were given a pizza for dinner from the local dominoes Wednesday night before a truck delivered breakfast boxes – including apple juice, corn flakes, milk, cups of fruit and cheese. water – for guests trapped Thursday morning.
NSW Health confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that the lockdown was initially 48 hours but has since been improved after investigations revealed the possible extent of the infection.
“NNSWLHD works with other agencies, such as the NSW Police, to support guests and staff with food supplies and other essentials,” said Wayne Jones, general manager of the North North Local Health District. NSW.
More than 80 backpackers at a hostel in Byron Bay on the north coast of New South Wales have been taken into custody for a week after a guest tested positive for Covid-19
NSW Health has locked down Aquarius Backpackers (pictured) in Byron Bay for up to 14 days, affecting 81 guests
Police will continue to maintain custody on the property for as long as they deem necessary, NSW Health said.
Ballina MP Tamara Smith posted the situation at Aquarius Backpackers on Facebook on Wednesday evening.
“I am closely monitoring a situation in Byron Bay tonight where a positive Covid-19 case and 84 close contacts have been identified at Aquarius Backpackers in Byron Bay,” she said.
“I am told (that they are) supported by food, health and support,” Ms. Smith said.
Guests had pizza delivered for the local domino dinner on Wednesday night (photo by guest at Byron Bay Inn)
NSW Police have placed a 24-hour guard on the hostel to ensure compliance.
“My thoughts are with everyone in this situation as it will be a difficult time,” Ms. Smith said.
Thousands of HSC students are about to descend into the resort town for school celebrations.
Some 80.9% of residents in the Byron Bay local government area are fully immunized. Although high, the coverage rate is below the state average of 92 percent.
Officers are scheduled to hold a press conference Thursday on the launch of Operation Force Schools in the Tweed / Byron Police District.
Police have announced that they will conduct a high-visibility operation throughout the school term, targeting drug and alcohol crimes and anti-social behavior.
Food deliveries have been allowed into the hostel (pictured) but none of the guests or staff will be allowed out for at least seven or 14 days if they are not vaccinated
NSW Police have placed a 24-hour guard on the hostel to ensure compliance (pictured)
Thousands of HSC students are set to descend into the resort town for schoolchildren’s celebrations (pictured, school leavers celebrating in Queensland)
A total of 84 guests and staff at the Aquarius Backpackers Hostel in Byron Bay have been taken into custody after coming into close contact with a positive Covid case
Meanwhile, unvaccinated grade 12 students were granted an exemption to attend grade 12 ceremonies, dinners, or graduation ceremonies.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the 2021 cohort “has had an incredibly difficult 18 months.”
“They deserve to be able to party with their friends and enjoy one of the biggest celebrations of their lives,” he said Thursday.
Police say they will be carrying out a high-visibility operation for the duration of the school term (pictured, the Aquarius Backpacker hostel)
The local health district of North New South Wales confirmed two new cases of the virus were reported in the region on Wednesday (testing clinic pictured in Byron Bay)
The exemption means that grade 12 students who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to celebrate with their friends if they meet the public health requirements of the place they attend.
Meanwhile, the NSW government’s Covid-19 cabinet subcommittee will meet on Thursday to determine whether a mask term will be extended beyond December 15.
The government’s roadmap on exiting the lockdown says restrictions will ease when NSW hits 95% double vaccination or December 15 – whichever comes first.
This is when the lockdown for unvaccinated people will end and masks will only be required on public transport, airplanes and airports and for room reception staff.
However, there are reports that NSW Health bureaucrats are pushing to keep mandatory masks in stores throughout the holiday season.