New South Wales has registered double-digit numbers of COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine for the second time in five days while the state recorded one case locally.
Overnight, 10 new cases were acquired in overseas travellers.
The locally acquired case, a Sydney man in his 50s from southeastern Sydney, tested positive on Wednesday morning – the first case in NSW in more than a month.
The number of overseas cases ranged between three and seven during the past four days, after flights from India were halted due to growing strain being put on the quarantine system towards the end of April.
NSW recorded 12 cases on April 27, then nine, 15 and 13 cases in the days after.
The federal government on Monday suspended flights from India until mid-May.
The ban on travellers from India was based on health advice from Australia’s chief medical officer Paul Kelly, who said the proportion of COVID-19 positive cases in people arriving from the nation had sharply increased to more than 50 per cent since mid-April.
All passenger flights from India to Australia were grounded on Monday as the country continued to grapple with the world’s worst COVID-19 outbreak.
India has averaged more than 300,000 new daily COVID-19 cases over the last 12 days, putting severe pressure on hospitals and oxygen supplies.
Travellers to Australia who defy the ban face fines of more than $ 60,000, a five-year jail term or both.
“Our advice was we need to do something about the number of these cases coming into our hotel quarantine because of the risk of incursions,” Dr Kelly said.
“The biggest risk coming from – by far and away that was coming from people arriving from India. So, that was the advice given, the public health advice. And then the response to that was obviously a decision of Government to use the Biosecurity Act in that way.”
Since December 11, 1555 cases have been detected in Australian hotel quarantine.
Travellers from India have recorded a large contribution to that total, with 324 cases in total. In April alone, there were 210 cases.
Travellers from the US have accounted for 172 cases since December 11 while Papua New Guinea’s COVID-19 crises has contributed 108 cases to Australian hotel quarantine.