Australia Bondi COVID-19 cluster rises to 36 cases after NSW Health records 11 new infections
Concern new Sydney cases show 'vaccine gap' in frontline workers
Sydney remains on high alert this morning after a second new case of coronavirus was detected in Bondi.NSW Health revealed last night the new case was a household contact of a man in his 60s, whose positive COVID-19 test was announced earlier in the day.
NSW is in the midst of the "scariest period" since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as the state recorded 11 new infections on Thursday.
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.
There have been 49 locally acquired COVID-19 infections since a limousine driver in Sydney's eastern suburbs tested positive for the virus last Wednesday.
Shopping centres, cafes and grocers across NSW among growing list of COVID-19 exposure sites
As contact tracers scramble to track venues visited by COVID-19 cases, the list of venues which at first was focused on the eastern suburbs, has now expanded to include Drummoyne, Castle Hill, Campbelltown and Merrylands in Western Sydney.
The Bondi cluster in Sydney's east now stands at 36 cases.
"Can I say … that since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that NSW is going through, and Dr [Kerry] Chant and I are equal view on that," Ms Berejiklian said.
"It is a very contagious variant, but at the same time we are at this stage comfortable that the settings that are in place are the appropriate settings, but that is so long as everybody does the right thing."
When asked about the possibility of a three-day lockdown, chief health officer Kerry Chant said it would only be needed to allow contact tracers to catch up on a backlog of people to contact.
She said NSW does not have a backlog, and contact tracers were on top of the situation.
Salvos store added to growing list of NSW Covid-19 exposure sites
NSW's growing COVID-19 outbreak has prompted health authorities to release more exposure sites — see the complete list here.The latest venues include the Salvos Stores in Tempe in Sydney's Inner West and a BP at Baulkham Hills in the north west.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys gave an update on the limousine driver, who was not vaccinated while transporting international flight crew from Sydney Airport.
He said police were not just looking into breaching public health orders, but also work and safety offences and the role of his employer.
"It's not as simple as issuing a ticket to this gentlemen. Police will continue that investigation … and I hope by early next week we may have some result," he said.
Masks and vaccine guidelines for workers managing international travellers were not explicitly written into NSW's public health act, but Ms Berejiklian defended this by saying the government had made expectations clear.
"Let me make it clear, it is in black and white what people's responsibilities are," she said.
She said she would wait for police to finish its investigations but said "complacency has no place".
NSW COVID cluster's 'enormous' expansion sparks concern, but outbreak remains traced for now
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. The number of locally acquired infections in NSW yesterday swelled to 21, after 10 new cases were recorded.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 list of venues visited by infected people, which are mainly around Sydney.
One of the new infections announced on Thursday morning was a man in his 40s who was not linked to a known case or cluster.
Another unlinked infection was revealed yesterday — a Western Sydney hairdresser who worked in Double Bay, in Sydney's east.
NSW Health said three of the hairdresser's close contacts had now tested positive and were all in isolation whilst infectious.
Contact tracers are urgently investigating the source of both cases.
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall also tested positive for the virus after attending a dinner with colleagues in Paddington on Monday night.
Parliament House on Macquarie Street today shut its doors and several MPs — including Mr Hazzard — and their staff are now isolating.
The Premier said she was considered a casual contact and received a negative result from her COVID-19 test this morning.
The state budget would be put on hold while the virus remained a threat at Parliament House.
"Colleagues are going through that process this morning to ensure that nobody enters the chamber to pass the budget until all of those assessments have been made," the Premier said.
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.
Another case has been linked to the West Hoxton birthday party in Sydney's south-west, which was described by chief health officer Kerry Chant yesterday as a "super spreader" event.
Of the 30 people who attended the party, 11 have now tested positive.
Dr Chant said none of the attendees who were vaccinated had tested positive for the virus, but they were still required to quarantine for 14 days.
There were 48,402 tests reported to 8:00pm last night, compared with the previous day’s total of 44,640.
COVID-19 was also identified in the Castle Hill, Glenhaven, Rouse Hill, Cronulla and Bellambi sewage networks.
The latest figures come after Ms Berejiklian introduced sweeping restrictions across Greater Sydney which included mandatory masks in all public indoor settings, including workplaces.
The restrictions remain in place until 12:01am on Thursday, July 1.
Video: Govt predicts AstraZeneca will be phased out by October (ABC NEWS)
The Bondi cluster will be NSW's biggest COVID cluster so far. Here's how it compares to the other outbreaks .
The Delta strain outbreak in Bondi is set to become New South Wales's biggest cluster, but it's not all bad news with two major factors meaning it could be controlled in a similar time to other clusters.Yesterday, the Bondi cluster count was at 141 cases, so today, the case numbers are likely to surpass the Northern Beaches cluster, which peaked at 151 cases.