COVID: NSW Minister in isolation, another tests positive

Brad Hazzard is self isolating after being exposed to a person who could have COVID-19.
Brad Hazzard is self isolating after being exposed to a person who could have COVID-19.

SYDNEY'S evolving COVID-19 crisis has seeped into NSW Parliament with Health Minister Brad Hazzard in isolation and NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall tested positive to the virus.

Mr Hazzard, who is also the Wakehurst MP, is self isolating after being exposed to a potential case at parliament house.

He admitted it "was likely" other MPs could be affected and told Channel Nine he stands next to Premier Gladys Berejiklian every day.

"I think the premier is fairly safe," he said.

Ag Minister Mr Marshall contracted the virus after dining at Christo's Pizza in Paddington on Monday night with Nationals colleagues Trevor Khan, Steph Cooke and Ben Franklin.

The four MPs were present in parliament on Tuesday afternoon after attending a partyroom meeting on Tuesday morning.

"This morning just after 8am I was formally advised by NSW Health that I had returned a positive test for COVID-19," Mr Marshall said in a statement on Thursday.

This morning just after 8am I was formally advised by NSW Health that I had returned a positive test for COVID-19.

NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall

"I have been in isolation in Sydney since late Tuesday night, when I received a text message from NSW Health," he said.

The parliament will operate on a skeleton staff on Thursday with just enough MPs to pass the budget before it's suspended.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns told Sydney radio 2GB he would postpone his budget reply speech after parliament was reduced to a skeleton staff with MPs told to tell their staff to stay home.

"All sides agree now is not the time for politics ... we need to get through what is a very difficult health situation in Sydney," he said.

NSW is likely to report more more COVID-19 cases on Thursday but Mr Hazzard played down fears Sydney is on the brink of a lockdown.

"I don't believe that we will go into a lockdown," he said.

"The advice is that's not necessary so we will take that advice," he told ABC Radio Sydney.

I don't believe that we will go into a lockdown.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard

However, on Wednesday the premier warned "the NSW government will not hesitate to go further and harder if we have to".

Meanwhile, school holiday plans are in tatters for many Sydney residents, with many confined to the metropolitan area, as NSW struggles to contain a coronavirus cluster that's blown out to 31 infections.

Ms Berejiklian is urging people to "abandon non-essential activities" after introducing new rules for residents in Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour on Wednesday.

A household guest limit of five, including children, and the four-square-metre rule indoors and outdoors were introduced alongside mandatory masks in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces.

NSW Health issued more alerts for COVID-19 exposure sites at a range of venues at Darlinghurst, Double Bay, Bondi Beach, Bondi Junction, Narellan, Meadowbank and the Sydney CBD.

Overall, there were 16 new cases reported on Wednesday, taking the total number of infections to 31.

Residents who live or work in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra local government areas cannot travel outside the metropolitan area unless it's absolutely essential.

Masks must also be worn to gym classes, which are now limited to 20 people.

Eight of the 13 additional cases were at a birthday party attended by about 30 people in West Hoxton on Saturday, which NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant described as a "super-spreader event".

Other states have hardened their borders days before NSW public schools break for two weeks.

Australian Associated Press

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