Australia NSW COVID cluster's 'enormous' expansion sparks concern, but outbreak remains traced for now
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Experts remain optimistic a COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney's eastern suburbs is contained, despite yesterday's "enormous" rise in case numbers that saw the Bondi cluster almost double in size.
Sydney COVID-19 cluster grows to nine
Residents ordered to mask up as Bondi cluster spreads into community.NSW has recorded two locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, one of which was announced yesterday morning.
The number of locally acquired infections in NSW.
Seven of those came in after the 8:00pm reporting deadline and will be officially included in today's numbers, which are set to be released at 11:00am EST.
NSW Health has been continuously adding to the, which are mainly around Sydney.
However, late last night, the outbreak went international when authorities revealed a confirmed case had travelled from Sydney to Wellington last Friday.
Anyone on Qantas flight QF163 on June 18, and Air New Zealand flight NZ247 from Wellington to Sydney on June 21 is considered a close contact of the infected person and must get a COVID-19 test and isolate for 14 days.
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Eight of the 10 new cases announced yesterday in NSW were household contacts of known COVID-19 patients who were already in isolation.
While face masks have been made mandatory in several settings in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas, other social-distancing restrictions like the number of people allowed in hospitality venues, remain unchanged.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was confident with the state of restrictions in NSW, even though the highly-contagious Delta strain of COVID-19 was spreading in Sydney's east.
"There is no doubt an increased level of concern, given additional numbers of cases," Ms Berejiklian said.
"But as [chief health officer] Dr [Kerry] Chant said yesterday, we expected, given how absolutely contagious the virus is, we expected that household contacts already in isolation were likely to get the virus."
Queensland declares ALL of Sydney a coronavirus hotspot
This includes the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour, leaving millions trapped out of the Sunshine State just days before the school holidays. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk made the announcement via Twitter after Sydney recorded 16 new locally acquired cases on Wednesday bringing the cities growing cluster to 35.The border closure will go into effect on Thursday at 1am.
Epidemiologist at the University of NSW, Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, agrees.
"The number spike is enormous and it was a concern," she said.
"But to hear that they are mainly household contacts is good, because it means that they have been in isolation before they've become highly infectious to others, and this variant of concern means that you can start to become more infectious to people earlier on."
In response to the rise in numbers, NSW Health yesterday made wearing face masks mandatory for an extra week, until 12:01am EST on Thursday, July 1.
People in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, and the Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas must wear face masks if they are:
- On public transport
- In a retail shop
- In an entertainment venue like a theatre
- In the gaming area of a pub or club
- Visiting an aged-care facility
Masks are also mandatory for front-of-house hospitality staff, but not for patrons.
The rules do not apply to people on the Central Coast or in NSW's Hunter region.
Premier Berejiklian said making masks mandatory was an important measure.
Bondi COVID-19 cluster rises to 36 cases after NSW Health records 11 new infections
Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the last week has been the "scariest period" NSW has gone through since the COVID-19 pandemic started. NSW today recorded 11 new locally acquired infections since the state government's update yesterday.However, the source of all but one of the new cases has been traced, and authorities do not believe social distancing restrictions need to change, yet.
"It is only when you are eating or drinking indoors at a venue that you can't or shouldn't wear a mask," Ms Berejiklian said.
"The challenge for us at this stage is to prevent any super spreading event because we know that if you are in a group of people and if one person has the virus the level of contagion is so high that we are concerned that everybody might get the virus."
A few days ago Professor McLaws said she thought a short lockdown would have been useful, but she said the situation had changed for the better since then, and was encouraged by the fact most of yesterday's new infections were household contacts of COVID-19 cases.
"That gives me at least a sense of security that there may not be that many more cases," she said.
"But I'm very pleased to hear that mask use is now mandatory ... because that is what will save us from walking into these plumes of infectious particles."
Ms Berejiklian agrees.
"If we suddenly have a number of unlinked cases, and if we suddenly have them outside the geographic region they are concentrated in, that will obviously adjust the health advice and we will respond to that," she said.
Of concern to health officials was a case announced yesterday of a Sydney primary school student with no known links to other cases.
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The state government is rushing to finalise a significant rescue package for businesses amid warnings that the outbreak will get worse before it gets better.Sydney residents have been warned that an outbreak of a highly contagious COVID-19 variant will get worse before it gets better as the state government rushes to finalise a significant rescue package for businesses to be unveiled as early as Monday.
The school, St Charles' Catholic Primary School in Waverley, is not far from Westfield Bondi Junction, where several infections have been recorded.
Also under investigation is a woman in her 20s who works at Bondi Junction and is believed to have contracted the virus in another instance of "fleeting contact".
Late last nightto a growing list which now includes outdoor eating areas, workplaces and cafes.
Victoria has also. Wollongong has been declared an orange zone.
This means that Victorian residents who have been in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West or Randwick must obtain a red zone permit to enter the state.
Non-Victorian residents who have travelled to these areas cannot enter Victoria.
Last night,residents for 72 hours from midnight in response to the latest outbreak saying that while the risk was low, there were still some unknowns.
NSW records 'steady' rise in COVID cases .
A record number of people have come forward to get tested with over 68,000 tests received in the last 24 hours. It has also been revealed a young student nurse has tested positive to the virus working in several wards across two Sydney hospitals.LIVE UPDATES: Queensland exposure sites growEleven of today's cases were in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period.It comes as the Service NSW QR code will be mandatory at all workplaces and retail businesses from July 12.