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Despite testing clear, a nervous fortnight remains for our 'Crossroads 19'

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Nineteen patrons of a NSW pub at the centre of a COVID-19 outbreak are waiting to see if they have brought the virus to Queensland, two months after the state eradicated community transmission.

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All have returned negative results after visiting the Crossroads Hotel in southwestern Sydney between July 3 and 10, but will have to complete 14 days of isolation before they are cleared of the virus.

More than 30 people – patrons, staff, close contacts and contacts of contacts – have since caught the virus in NSW as a result.

A popular spot for travellers, NSW Health confirmed the pub’s “patient zero” was a Melbourne freight company employee who visited on July 3 for a work party.

It comes as NSW desperately tries to get the outbreak under control while Victoria records hundreds of new cases each day.

Queensland has been free of community transmission since May, and authorities are urging anyone who visited the pub to come forward and be tested so it remains that way.

Victoria has reached its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases after one week of the new lockdown to bring the coronavirus under control.

The 317 COVID-19 cases recorded in Victoria on Thursday marked Australia’s biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases, but authorities hope it is all downhill from here.

“It’s a big number. I expect it to turn around this week,” Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said on Thursday.

Metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire have been in stage three lockdown for a week, and are expected to remain under those conditions until August 19.

Considering the virus had an average incubation period of five to six days, Sutton said case numbers should begin to plateau soon.

Two men in their 80s succumbed to the disease on Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths in Victoria to 29 and the national toll to 113.

Despite the concerning numbers, Premier Daniel Andrews argued it was “way too early” to move to tighter restrictions, asking Victorians for compliance during the six-week stage three lockdown.

“Let’s see case numbers at a much lower rate and then we can make decisions about what the next period looks like,” he told reporters.

About 160 outbreaks are being monitored across the state, including 27 at aged care facilities.

Police have conducted 3284 spot checks on homes, businesses and public places in the past 24 hours, with 65 people fined for breaching restrictions.

Meanwhile, there have been multiple outbreaks among healthcare workers.

Some of the hospitals affected include Brunswick Private Hospital, Monash Health, Northern Hospital, the Royal Children’s Hospital, the Royal Women’s Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital.

The Victorian Government paused all category three elective surgeries – including hip and knee replacements – in preparation for a surge of coronavirus patients.

More than 1000 spaces for intensive care and critical care beds have been created, while 1200 ventilators are available.

Victoria has a total of 2128 active cases, with 109 people in hospital including 29 in intensive care.

-AAP

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