Australia’s New South Wales reports zero COVID-19 cases for fifth straight day

(Reuters) — Australia’s most populous state reported no new locally acquired COVID-19 cases for a fifth straight day on Tuesday as authorities hunt for a missing link in a new infection chain reported last week.

New South Wales state last Wednesday reported its first local case in more than a month after a man in his 50s tested positive, tracing the infection back to a returned traveller from overseas.

But officials have not yet located the transmission path between them, raising concerns that the virus could be spreading in the community through undiscovered cases.

The case of the unidentified Sydney man, who later passed the virus on to his wife, prompted authorities to extend social distancing restrictions and mandatory masks in public transport in the greater Sydney region, home to more than 5.3 million residents, until May 17.

Authorities said the man may have contracted the virus through brief contact with a currently unidentified person who was infectious.

Australia’s hardline approach to rein in COVID-19, with measures including curbs on gatherings, snap lockdowns and speedy tracing systems, has helped keep its COVID-19 numbers relatively low. It has reported just over 29,900 cases and 910 deaths since the pandemic began.