/Byron Bay, Richmond Valley, Ballina, Lismore go into lockdown after COVID-19 case in region – ABC News

Byron Bay, Richmond Valley, Ballina, Lismore go into lockdown after COVID-19 case in region – ABC News

Four local government areas (LGAs) in the NSW North Coast will go into lockdown after a positive case travelled to the region from Sydney.

The Byron Shire, Richmond Valley, Lismore and Ballina Shire LGAs will lock down from 6:00pm today, until 12:01am on August 17.

The same rules will apply in lockdown, to the current restrictions in Greater Sydney, Hunter region and parts of the New England region.

The lockdown comes after a man in his 50s tested positive to COVID-19 after arriving in the Byron Shire from Sydney.

He is currently being treated at Lismore Base Hospital, and investigations are ongoing into why he travelled to the region.

Health authorities have expressed concern he may have visited a number of venues while infectious in the community.

In a statement, NSW Health said the region’s lockdown came after updated health advice from chief health officer Kerry Chant.

The statement said the stay-at-home orders were to “protect the people of NSW from the evolving COVID-19 outbreak”.

“We understand this is a difficult time for the community and appreciate their ongoing patience and cooperation,” the statement said.

“We are asking people not to seek exceptions to the rules, but to ensure they comply with them so we do not see further cases of COVID-19 in the community.”

Anyone in affected LGAs must stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse to leave.

These include essential shopping, such as groceries, for medical appointments or to get vaccinated, or to fulfil caring duties.

People are not permitted to have visitors to their home, unless for caring or compassionate reasons, including where two people are in a relationship but do not live together.

People are also not allowed to enter the affected LGAs unless they have a reasonable excuse.

Earlier today, Dr Chant advised anyone in the affected LGAs to immediately isolate and get tested if they began to exhibit even the mildest of symptoms.

“Unfortunately this gentleman was infectious in the community for a while,” she said. 

“He had symptoms for several days, so we are quite concerned and want to see the [testing] numbers increase in that area and we will be monitoring that closely.”