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NSW Health probe theory truck driver could be source of Crossroads Hotel coronavirus cluster

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NSW health authorities scrambling to contain a coronavirus cluster in south-west Sydney are investigating whether a truck driver could be the outbreak's "patient zero".

There are now 21 COVID-19 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel at Casula, with several of those testing positive after attending the venue on July 3.

The ABC understands the pub is popular among truck drivers and is within 10 kilometres of the busy Southern Cross Transport Terminal at Chipping Norton.

NSW chief medical officer Kerry Chant yesterday confirmed authorities were looking at the possibility a truck driver may be the source of the Crossroads Hotel infection.

"This is called the Crossroads Hotel for a reason, it is on a popular route," Dr Chant said.

"Clearly we are pursuing — it's a pivotal part of the investigation — as to whether these cases can be linked to any travellers from Melbourne, because that gives us comfort we are not missing another avenue of transmission."

Dr Chant said she was awaiting test results and it was still too early to speculate on a source.

"Because the hotel is on main transit routes, we have been working with our colleagues in other states and territories to make sure they are aware of this cluster and they can take appropriate actions to increasing awareness through those states in through the freight network, who may be just travelling through," she said.

Dr Chant's comments follow those of Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles, who said the hotel was a hub for travellers and truck drivers transporting freight interstate.

Mr Miles warned those in Queensland who had visited the venue between July 3 and 10 to get tested and isolate immediately.

"The hotel is a busy stopover for many travellers, so it is very likely that there are a number of Queenslanders who have been there during this period," he said.

Transport Workers' Union (TWU) of NSW state secretary Richard Olsen said he would not comment on "speculation" truck drivers could be the source of the infection.

"We will await the outcomes of expert investigations being conducted by relevant health authorities," he said.

Mr Olsen said the TWU was seeking assurances that employers had COVID-19 safety plans in place to protect drivers and distribution centre workers.

The TWU also wrote to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian asking that drivers be supported during the pandemic, Mr Olsen said.

"Transport workers are performing critical roles ensuring the movement of freight across the country," he said.

"Truck drivers must be given adequate access to rest areas and roadhouses — to take a much-needed break, have a hot meal, a coffee, nap or even a shower to avoid fatigue."

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