A Sydney woman who travelled to Byron Bay ahead of the upcoming I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! season has been charged over allegedly breaching public health orders.
According to the cops, the 31-year-old (and fully vaccinated) woman was granted an exemption to travel to Byron for work.
However, she was not granted an exemption to visit a bunch of businesses and venues around Byron and Kingscliff over the weekend, which is what police allege she absolutely did.
They also allege she failed to check-in at those locations. And now, to make matters worse, she’s tested positive for COVID-19, with authorities believing she was infectious while allegedly visiting a bunch of venues.
It’s this alleged breach which triggered the seven-day snap lockdown in the Byron and Tweed local government area.
The woman, who hails from Rushcutters Bay in Sydney’s east, has been charged with five counts of failing to comply with an electronic registration directive, and is due to appear before the Tweed Heads Local court on Monday 8 November.
Production company ITV Studios Australia, which produces I’m A Celeb, said in a statement that it had been filming in northern NSW “in accordance with Public Health Orders and restrictions”.
“We take our COVIDSafe plan extremely seriously. The health, safety and welfare of the community, as well as our cast and crew, is our number one priority,” the statement said.
“We can confirm that one of our crew members has tested positive to COVID-19. This discovery was made through the rigorous testing regime implemented by our CovidSAFE plan. The crew member is fully vaccinated and was wearing PPE while at work”
The possible outbreak and lockdown has flared tensions between the northern NSW region – which has some of the lowest vaccination rates in Australia – and the state government, with a Liberal MP Catherine Cusack calling for Health Minister Brad Hazzard to resign (???).
“I am calling on Brad Hazzard to resign because he has ignored the regions and I hold him personally accountable for the new lockdown and destruction of progress we have made on the Queensland border arrangement,” she said.
The lockdown has triggered restrictions for border zone residents, with travel between northern NSW and southern QLD subject to strict restrictions and for limited essential purposes only.
Hazzard said the seven-day lockdown will be “reviewed”, and encouraged everyone to keep getting tested to ensure the area could come out of lockdown.
“So far, those areas have been kept relatively safe but we need the community to keep getting tested so that the public health team can be very, very certain of what we need to do at the expiration of those seven days,” Hazzard said on Tuesday.
“Please go out and get tested and go and get vaccinated obviously. Get vaccinated.”
Just 34% of Byron residents are fully vaccinated, while nearby Lismore and Tweed are sitting at 38.5% and 45% respectively. In comparison, the western Sydney LGA of Blacktown is sitting at 67%.
All adult Aussies (yep, even those of us under 40) are currently able to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Click here to see which clinics are offering it, and talk to a doctor for more info.
The best vaccine is the first one you can get, and that’ll be our ticket out of this mess.