Sydneysiders are outraged after they were forced to wait more than six hours to be tested for COVID-19 – only to be turned away at 4pm and told to come back tomorrow.
Residents reported being sent home at testing clinics across the Harbour City including in Manly and Lindfield, to the city’s north, and Bondi Beach in the eastern suburbs on Friday.
The surge in demand for testing comes after an explosion of 28 cases mainly linked to the Avalon RSL Club in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
NSW Health have told residents who visited virus hotspots as well as those with flu-like symptoms to get tested immediately – but many were not able to on Friday.
Vehicles queue for a drive-through coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing clinic in the Warriewood suburb of Sydney on Friday
Sydneysiders reported waiting for five-and-a-half hours at the drive through clinic at Manly Histopath Pathology, which shut half an hour before the scheduled 4pm closure
One man waited for five-and-a-half hours at the drive through clinic at Manly Histopath Pathology, which shut 30 minutes before the scheduled 4pm closure.
‘I have been in line at a drive-in COVID test at Manly since 10am this morning. They have closed its gates at 3:30pm, 30mins prior to their schedule closure, telling hundreds including myself to go home. People are furious,’ he wrote on Twitter.
‘No communication, no plan. Man I spoke to couldn’t tell me any other clinics that were open nearby. Said to return at 9am tomorrow.’
Another man, who also attended the Manly clinic, wrote: ‘Just waited for 5 1/2 hours to get tested at north head in Manly, only for the clinic to shut up shop without notifying any of us waiting in line what had happened.’
Pictures of the queue at the Manly clinic showed a line of cars snaking down the street and around the corner as far as the eye could see.
Another man said his wife waited for six-and-a-half hours at the Roseville Respiratory Clinic, also in the city’s north.
Pictures of the queue at the Manly clinic showed a line of cars snaking down the street and around the corner as far as the eye could see
Sydneysiders slammed NSW Health for long queues at their testing clinics and closing before many could be tested, even those who waited for hours
‘My wife had been waiting in Lindfield since 9.30am.. same deal.. 4pm, they told her to leave as they were closing. With all that is going on, how can they close at 4?’ he said.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the city at Bondi Beach, people were also turned away at 4pm after waiting for hours in their cars.
‘Even Bondi Beach drive through testing centre has been shut because it was too busy. C’mon Brad Hazzard lift your game,’ one woman wrote.
The woman also slammed NSW Health, saying ‘we have a big problem in Sydney in getting tested’.
‘My sister has tried 4 places this morning and the queues are endless; she gave up. If everyone is symptomatic we have a huge problem brewing here,’ she said.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted NSW Health for comment.
Northern Beaches locals are seen lining up at a COVID-19 pop-up testing location at Avalon Recreation Centre on Friday
It comes after Sydney’s Northern Beaches coronavirus outbreak spread to the inner-city and eastern suburbs, with health authorities identifying 20 more hotspot venues.
NSW Health issued the urgent alert for venues in Woolloomooloo, Eveleigh, Turramurra, Rosebery, Cronulla and Bondi Junction on Friday afternoon as the Avalon cluster grew to 28 infections.
‘NSW Health is issuing an urgent call to all residents of NSW – not only those in the Northern Beaches – to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms,’ the alert read.
‘The source of these infections remains under investigation, though genome sequencing points to the strain being of US origin.’
The urgent alert has identified three venues where vistors are considered a ‘close contact’ – meaning they must get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.
This will plunge hundreds more Sydneysiders into isolation for Christmas.
Close contacts includes anyone who visited Hair by Erika at Lane Cove on December 11 from 3.30 to 5pm, Rusti Fig Café Newport on December 12 from 9 to 10am and Salon of Hair Turramurra on December 15 from 10am to 3pm December 16 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.
NSW public health alert – urgent call for testing (December 18)
Anyone who attended the following locations is considered a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result:
- Hair by Erika, Village Shopping Centre Lane Cove, 11 December, 3.30-5pm
- Rusti Fig Café Newport, 12 December, 9-10am
- Salon of Hair Turramurra, 15 December, 10am-3pm, and 16 December, 9.30am-3.30pm
Close and casual contacts, who must get tested and isolate until December 30:
- Sienna Marina, 7-41 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomoolo, 11 December, 12-2pm
- Pilgrims Vegetarian Café, 97 Gerrale St, Cronulla, 16 December 11.30am-2.30pm
- Cronulla RSL Club, 38 Gerrale St, Cronulla on 16 December, 5pm to closing time
People who have visited the following locations are casual contacts, and should get tested immediately and isolate until they receive a negative result:
- Coles Newport, 11 December, 5-7pm, and 12 December, 3.15-3.30pm
- Hills Florist, Terrey Hills, 12 December, 8-8.45am – close contacts have been contacted directly by NSW Health
- Restaurant Lovat, Newport, 12 December, 2.15-2.25pm and 4.10-4.15pm
- Nourished Wholefood Café, Avalon, 12 December, 7.30-7.40am
- RAN Sailing Association Darling Point, Navy Bear Café and Christmas party, 13 December, 10am 4pm
- Sabiang Thai Restaurant, 4/49 Old Barrenjoey Rd, Avalon Beach, 13 December, 6-8pm
- Seven West Media Building, 8 Central Ave, Eveleigh, 14 December, 8-11.30am
- Mentmore and Morley Café and public toilets, 55 Mentmore Ave, Roseberry, 14 December 10am-3pm
- Harris Farm, Mona Vale Plaza, 14 December, 11-11.10am
- Paris Seafood Café, 136 Cronulla, 15 December, 8.30-9pm
- Cronulla Mall, 15 December, 8-9pm and 16 December 11am-12pm
- Blend @ Grantham Café, Riverstone, 16 December 11-11.45am
- Westfield Bondi Junction, 15 December, 1-2.30pm
- Forest Way Fruit Market, 2 Myoora St, Terrey Hills, 16 December, 4-4.10pm
Confirmed cases travelled on the following transport services. Other passengers are considered to be casual contacts, and should get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.
- Ferry from Palm Beach to Wagstaffe, 16 December, 6.15pm-6.35pm
- Forest Coach Lines buses between Forestville and the CBD:
- Route 273, 15 December, Departing Jamieson Square, Forestville, 7.10am and arriving QVB, 8am
- Route 271, 15 December, Departing QVB 5.25pm and arriving Austlink Business Park Belrose 6.28pm
- Route 273, 16 December, Departing Jamieson Square, Forestville 7.10am and arriving QVB, CBD, 8am
- Route 271, 16 December, Departing QVB 5.25pm and arriving Austlink Business Park Belrose, 6.28pm
People queue up in their cars to be tested at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility at Avalon