Canberra (Tribune International, Media Release Health & Medical Research, 25 June 2020): Health Minister Brad Hazzard is calling on Melbourne residents from the COVID hot spots to refrain from attending major events in NSW including AFL and NRL games until the recent spike in COVID-19 cases ends.

Mr Hazzard said while health authorities battle to trace a growing number of community COVID transmissions across Melbourne’s north-west and south-east, vigilance and caution are needed.

“COVID-19 spreads rapidly, particuarly in large gatherings. The NSW Government is calling on Melbourne hot spot residents to not come to NSW and particularly not attend sporting and other major events,” Mr Hazzard said.

“A COVID-19 outbreak like the one we’re seeing in parts of Melbourne could occur in NSW. We have to prevent the virus from transmitting from the current hot spots in Melbourne to NSW residents.

“We are particularly concerned about the dangers which could come from AFL and NRL supporters attending games in Sydney.

“AFL and NRL executives are working with the NSW Government to ensure supporters of Victorian AFL and NRL clubs can give their best support to their clubs in these unprecedented times by staying in Melbourne.

“NSW residents who may have visited the Melbourne COVID-19 hot spots should also not attend these AFL and NRL games where there can be up to 10,000 people in our major stadiums from July 1.”

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, emphasised NSW residents should preferably avoid visiting Melbourne, particularly the hot spots, and warned that residents returning from these areas need to take special precautions.

“If you must go to Melbourne it’s essential that on return to Sydney you monitor yourself carefully for COVID symptoms and, if even mild symptoms develop, present promptly for testing and stay home pending results,” Dr Chant said.

“Anyone who has come from Melbourne hot spots, including NSW residents, should not attend aged care facilities, hospitals or other settings with vulnerable people and should avoid gatherings outside their immediate family for a period of 14 days.

“After the great work that residents of NSW have done to limit the transmission of this very dangerous virus it is critical that we take these precautionary steps to keep NSW residents safe.”

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