Coronavirus: NSW records five COVID-19 cases; Scott Morrison rebuffs hotspot plan

For our free coronavirus pandemic coverage, learn more here.

NSW has reported five new cases on Thursday, including two people in hotel quarantine and two linked to known clusters.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the fifth case was a person in the broader community with no known links to confirmed cases and, in all likelihood, will prove to be a false-positive.

More than 20,000 tests were conducted in the last 24 hour reporting period, a sign testing rates were starting to creep back up in NSW after more than two weeks of low testing numbers.

One new case is a healthcare worker from the Concord Emergency Department, taking the Liverpool-Concord hospitals cluster to 21 cases, including eight staff.

The newest case was in isolation while infectious.

Another new case attended the Eastern Suburbs Legion Club, taking that cluster to nine cases. The individual was in isolation while infectious.

The locally acquired case with no known source reported today is from the Murrumbidgee Local Health District.

A subsequent test on the person has produced a negative result, but NSW Health is taking a cautious approach and asking the individual and close contacts to remain in isolation, while further testing is undertaken.

Anyone who attended the Five Stars Thaitanic, Casula on Saturday 12 September from 4.20pm to 5.20pm is considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.

After testing, they must remain in isolation until a negative test result is received.

On Thursday morning Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected reports suggesting the medical expert group leading Australia’s pandemic response had settled on a clear definition of a "COVID hotspot" after a draft proposal from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee was leaked.

The document outlined three categories of geographical areas - COVID-Free Zones, COVID-Controlled Zones, and COVID-Community Transmission Zones (hotspots) - to guide decisions about when to open and close borders.

"I think those reports are overstated," Mr Morrison said. "I'm not expecting a lot of progress on that by Friday” when at National Cabinet will next meet.

"The Commonwealth has its hotspot definition. I think that's a sensible definition. I think if other states want to have more extreme definitions then that's up to them ultimately," he said.

The Commonwealth’s definition differs substantially from the hotspot category outlined by the AHPPC, which is more vague.

The Commonwealth defines a hotspot as more than 30 locally acquired cases over three consecutive days in metropolitan areas and nine cases in three consecutive days for rural or regional areas.

The AHPPC defines hotspot as an area where the virus is spreading through the community, cases are locally acquired from an unknown source, and "a proportion" of these cases had no known source in the previous 28 days.

Queensland’s Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles said he was “disappointed” Mr Morrison had rejected the draft definition for a hotspot trigger.

“If you are going to take the advice of the experts, if you are going to have experts, then you have to at least consider their advice,” Mr Miles said.

“You can’t reject their advice before it even gets considered by national cabinet, which appears to be what Scott Morrison has done here.

“We continue to use the criteria provided by the national health experts, the AHPPC, and that is 28 days, two full incubation periods of no community transmission.”

Victoria's case numbers continue their downward trajectory, with 28 new cases reported on Thursday, and tragically eight deaths as the state's hospitals resume elective surgery services.

Sign up to our Coronavirus Update newsletter

Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter for the day's crucial developments and the numbers you need to know. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald's newsletter here and The Age's here.