NSW health authorities are scrambling to confirm the source of a new COVID-19 infection in a vaccinated Sydney hotel quarantine worker.

The 47-year-old man worked at both the Sofitel Wentworth and Mantra at Haymarket hotels in inner Sydney and had already received his first Pfizer jab.

The source of the security guard’s infection remains unclear, with all four of his family contacts testing negative so far.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said a “working hypothesis” was the man picked up the virus from an infected traveller while working at the Sofitel overnight on March 6.

“The genomics is being done urgently and we are expecting that … very late into the evening or early tomorrow morning,” she told reporters on Sunday.

A number of venues across the city have been listed as potential exposure sites and 130 close contacts have been asked to self-isolate after working an overnight shift with the man at the Mantra Hotel on Friday.

The Sydney man was also working a separate office job, with the state opposition renewing calls for security guards to be employed full-time to ensure they are not working across multiple sites.


“Securing our quarantine hotels shouldn’t be a part-time job,” NSW Labor’s shadow health minister Ryan Park said in a statement on Monday.

“Hotel quarantine is meant to be a bubble. It’s not going to be effective if guards are forced to take other roles in other parts of Sydney to make ends meet.”

Dr Chant warned that the Pfizer jab would not provide protection against COVID-19 for at least 12 days after a person is injected.

Having received first vaccine shot on March 2, the guard’s second dose was due to be administered in about a week, further enhancing his virus protection.

His positive test result was recorded after 8pm on Saturday and will be included in Monday’s tally, ending the state’s 56-day streak without a locally acquired COVID-19 case.


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