Residents who lie to contact tracers forced to hand over private documents

NSW residents caught lying to contact tracers, or being generally uncooperative, could have their movements tracked on security footage and bank statements combed by authorities.

Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the majority of people had been “very forthcoming” but there were a small number of individuals who had not.

Such instances have prompted authorities to take “additional powers” under the Public Health Act, such as forcing those people to hand over additional information.

“The Public Health Acts (requires them) to provide certain documentation, and that could include things like bank statements or various records,” Dr Chant said.

“We do have a number of powers.”

“Our experience is that (most) people are very co-operative. There has been only a handful of cases where we have had to use other means.”

She confirmed authorities did crosscheck information provided that could include contacting people close to the case and their workplace.

“If we have a reason to question the validity of the information, we use other mechanisms,” Dr Chant said, referring to reviewing CCTV footage.

“Can I urge and remind the public that our aim and intent is to stop COVID transmission. Please be open and honest with us.”

She said the health department was focused on the privacy of NSW residents and would not take these measures unless absolutely necessary.

Another 10 new cases were recorded in NSW overnight, including five linked to the northern beaches cluster.

Three are associated with the outbreak in Croydon, taking that cluster to nine people across three households.

Seven cases were diagnosed in hotel quarantine.

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