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New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned Sydney is going through the ‘scariest period’ of the pandemic yet but refused to impose a city-wide lockdown as she confirmed 11 new local cases of Covid-19 overnight.
The 11 additional cases includes six recorded overnight since 8pm and five unreported infections from Wednesday’s figures.
All but one of the new infections is linked to a previous case.
There are now 36 cases linked to the Bondi cluster, which has forced the NSW premier to impose widespread restrictions to slow the spread of the highly-contagious Delta strain of the virus.
The positive community cases came from 48,402 tests, up from the 44,640 carried out the day before.
NSW Health said 11 of the 30 people who went to a ‘super-spreader’ birthday party in West Hoxton in Sydney’s west had now returned positive Covid-19 results.
Ms Berejiklian said she was comfortable the restrictions announced on Wednesday were sufficient to contain the outbreak of the highly-contagious Delta variant.
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New South Wales has recorded 11 new local cases of Covid-19 overnight. Commuters pictured wearing face masks on a train platform at Central Station on Wednesday
NEW COVID-19 RULES FOR GREATER SYDNEY
From 4pm Wednesday for one week:
Visitors to households will be limited to five guests – including children;
Masks will be compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, and at organised outdoor events;
Drinking while standing at indoor venues will not be allowed;
Singing by audiences at indoor shows or by congregants at indoor places of worship will not be allowed;
Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs however, dancing is allowed at weddings for the bridal party only (no more than 20 people);
Dance and gym classes limited to 20 per class (masks must be worn);
The one person per four square metre rule will be re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings, including weddings and funerals;
Outdoor seated events will be limited to 50 per cent seated capacity;
Previous public transport capacity limits, represented by green dots, will be reintroduced
‘This is perhaps the scariest period that New South Wales is going through, and [NSW Chief Health Officer] Dr Chant and I have an equal view of that,’ she said.
‘It is a very contagious variant but at the same time we are comfortable that the settings we have in place are appropriate.’
Fears were earlier mounting that millions of Sydneysiders may soon be confined to their homes as the virus spreads across the city.
The uncertainty gripping the Government comes as NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and four other MPs were forced into isolation after being close contacts of Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, who has tested positive to Covid-19.
He contracted the virus after dining at Christo’s Pizzeria in Paddington in Sydney’s inner-east on Monday night.
Mr Hazzard believes Premier Gladys Berejiklian is ‘fairly safe’ from becoming infected, although discussions were underway about closing Parliament. The parliament’s whips sent notes to MPs members urging them not to bring in staff before both houses sit on Thursday.
MPs who were at Parliament House on Tuesday or Wednesday have been told by the NSW Department of Parliamentary Services to self-isolate until told otherwise.
New South Wales Health staff leave NSW State Parliament in Sydney on Thursday. Parliament has been suspended after the state’s Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall tested positive to Covid-19
Epidemiologist Dr Abrar Chughtai said the decision on sending Sydney into lockdown would hinge on three key factors – vaccination levels, how fast the Delta Covid-19 strain is spreading, and how active the cases were in the community.
‘If all cases are close contacts and you are able to trace all contacts of those cases, then you probably don’t need lockdown,’ he told ABC News.
Ms Berejiklian said on Wednesday she did not want to impose a debilitating lockdown unless she had no other option.
‘I am not going to rule out further action, I am not going to rule out what happens beyond a week,’ she said.
Covid cases are on the rise in Sydney (pictured, a couple in mandatory masks in Manly)
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured on Wednesday) has so far managed to fend off a lockdown, instead bringing in restrictions including limited visitors to the home and mandatory masks – even in offices
On Thursday, Queensland recorded three new local cases after an infected woman in her 30s visited the Portuguese Family Centre restaurant in Ellen Grove in Brisbane’s south-west.
Ms Berejiklian, who has always strived to take a measured approach to outbreaks, has so far stood firm by refusing to lock down Sydney, instead bringing in a number of restrictions including limits of five visitors to a household and mandatory masks.
However, in the face of a growing number of cases, a senior health source admitted to Daily Mail Australia that the trend of infections is ‘not good’.
THE THREE FACTORS THAT COULD SEND SYDNEY INTO LOCKDOWN
The city’s vaccination levels
How fast the Delta variant is spreading
How active the cases were in the community while they were infectious
Source: UNSW epidemiologist Dr Abrar Chughtai
When asked about a potential lockdown, the source said: ‘It certainly looks like that’s where we are heading.’
Four new mystery infections have contributed to widespread speculation that the city will be locked down by the end of the week, with sources telling the ABC and 7 News such restrictions could be imminent.
The Delta variant is so contagious that two people in Bondi this week caught Covid by momentarily brushing past each other.
While other premiers have locked down state capitals after just two cases, Ms Berejiklian has always tried to strike a balance between public health and economic and mental wellbeing.
But she conceded that the approach may have to change if cases begin to spiral out of control, particularly those not linked to known outbreaks.
‘We have always said we will not burden our citizens unless we absolutely have to,’ she said on Wednesday.
‘If we need to take further action within the week or after the week, we are open to that.’
Mr Hazzard rubbished claims that a lockdown is imminent, saying they have ‘zero’ truth to them.
‘No plan to lockdown contrary to reports this evening,’ Mr Hazzard told news.com.au on Wednesday night.
‘Measures implemented this afternoon are proportionate and appropriate. Reports of a lockdown are greatly exaggerated.’
Those who live and work in seven hotspot suburbs will not be allowed to leave metropolitan Sydney unless they have an essential reason
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and four other MPs are in isolation after being close contacts of Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, who has tested positive to the Delta variant
Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised the NSW’s premier’s approach.
‘She hasn’t gone to lock down Australia’s biggest city,’ he said.
‘But has taken the positive decision to keep Sydney and NSW open for its residents and to continue to rely on what is Australia’s best contact tracing system.’
On Wednesday evening, NSW Health added 12 stores, a busy bus route and three train lines to the burgeoning list of exposure sites in the city. Pictured: Passengers at Sydney Domestic Airport
Lockdown-happy premiers in other states including Western Australia , Victoria and Queensland have already slammed their borders shut, disrupting school holiday plans for thousands (inset, the Sydney suburbs deemed ‘hotspots’)
NSW Health added 12 stores, a busy bus route and three train lines to the growing list of exposure sites in Sydney late on Wednesday evening.
New venues included three eastern suburbs supermarkets, a TAFE building in Meadowbank, and an office building on Pitt Street in the CBD.
A BWS store in Mascot is also on alert, along with United Cinemas in Narellan, and three trendy eastern suburbs cafes.
Sydneysiders who were at the Tropicana Cafe in Darlinghurst between 12pm and 2pm on Friday 18 June, or Ikaria Bondi between 5pm and 7pm on Sunday June 20 have been told to contact NSW Health immediately and isolate for two weeks.
Pictured: The Bondi Beach drive-through Covid-19 clinic. There are now 36 cases linked to the state’s latest outbreak
Shoppers at Coles Express Shell Petrol station on Birrell Street in Bondi Junction in the half an hour after 7.15pm on June 18 should get tested and isolate immediately, along with anyone who was at Woolworths Metro at Bondi Beach between 1 and 1.30pm on June 20.
Visitors at to Coles Kings Cross in Potts Point between 8pm and 9pm on Monday June 21 should also get tested and isolate, along with anyone who was at the Transport NSW Training Centre in Petersham between 4 and 4.10pm on Monday.
New exposure sight: On Wednesday, it was announced the Joh Bailey salon was exposed from June 17 to June 19
A public health warning has also been issued Christo’s Pizzeria in Paddington (pictured)
STATES THAT HAVE BANNED SYDNEYSIDERS:
Queensland: Sydney declared a hotspot, banning entry into the Sunshine State
WA: All of NSW banned
SA: All of NSW banned
Victoria: Sydney hotspots banned- Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick
Tasmania: Sydney hotspots banned
Northern Territory: Anyone from Sydney hotspots must quarantine for 14 days.
ACT: Sydney hotspots banned
Five bus journeys were also added to the close contact list, with alerts for anyone who was on specific trips on the 600 or 665 buses on Sunday June 20.
Anyone who travelled on bus 333 between 1.07pm and 1.12pm on Tuesday June 22 is also considered a casual contact and should get tested and self-isolate immediately.
Three trains lines are also on the list, including one that travelled from Bondi Junction to Mascot on Friday June 18 between 6.55pm and 7.22pm.
Another travelled from Mascot to Central on Saturday June 19 between 5.26pm and 5.35pm, and the third went from Central to Glenfield on the same day between 5.53pm and 6.38pm.
Two venues in the ritzy suburb of Double Bay have now been added to the city’s growing list of exposure sites, including restaurant Matteo and the salon of renowned stylist, Joh Bailey.
A public health warning has also been issued Christo’s Pizzeria in nearby Paddington.
Contact tracers are scrambling to determine exposure sites visited by the positive cases, as well as trying to trace the four new mystery infections.
The Bondi cluster began last week after a Sydney Airport limousine driver tested positive to the Delta variant, which started spreading at Bondi Junction’s busy Westfield shopping centre.
A number of bus journeys were added to the close contact list on Wednesday evening with alerts for anyone who was on specific trips on the 600 or 665 buses on Sunday June 20 (pictured, a woman getting on a bus in Sydney)
The majority of the 16 new cases stem from a birthday party on Saturday in West Hoxton, in western Sydney, which included an infected Bondi Junction Westfield worker (pictured, testing at Bondi Beach)
For the next week from 4pm on Wednesday, household gatherings are limited to five visitors and masks are compulsory in all indoor venues, including workplaces and gym classes.
Drinking while standing in pubs and bars is also banned and those who live and work in seven hotspot council areas are not allowed to leave metropolitan Sydney unless they have an essential reason.
Those council areas are the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick – home to around 782,000 residents.
The tightened rules – which also include a 50 per cent capacity restriction for outdoor seated events – applies to Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Central Coast and Shellharbour regions.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the outbreak demonstrated how quickly transmission could occur (pictured, women leaving Westfield Bondi Junction on Wednesday amid a wave of new infections)
Ms Berejiklian said the growth of ‘unlinked cases’ in the state meant she needed to take proportionate action to stop the Delta variant from spreading.
‘If you live or work in any of those impacted LGAs we don’t want you moving outside of metropolitan Sydney other than for one of four essential purposes,’ she said.
‘Unless you are visiting a relative in care or have to go to work you should not be going outside the city for the next week.’
She clarified the boundaries of metropolitan Sydney were the city itself, the Blue Mountains, Shellharbour, Wollongong and the Central Coast.
The one person per four square metre rule in indoor venues has also come back into force.
NEW EXPOSURE SITES IN SYDNEY
Call NSW Health immediately, get tested and isolate regardless of the result:
Darlinghurst: Tropicana Cafe – Friday June 18, 12pm – 2pm
Bondi Beach: Ikaria Bondi – Sunday June 20, 5pm – 7pm
600 bus from Bankwest Stadium to Pennant Hills Station on June 20 between 4.04pm and 4.50pm
665 bus from Parramatta Station to Rouse Hill Station on June 20 between 7.30pm to 7.56pm
665 bus from Rouse Hill Station to Parramatta Station on June 20 between 8.20pm to 8.45pm
665 bus from Parramatta Station to Rouse Hill Station on June 20 between 9.00pm to 9.26pm
Wetherill Park Shopping Centre Nando’s -Sunday June 20 between 6pm and 7pm
Surry Hills Lumiere Cafe – Monday June 21 between 1pm and 2pm
Redfern Bamboo Thai restaurant – Monday June 21 between 6.15pm and 7.10pm.
QF163 (Qantas) – June 18 from Sydney to Wellington, NZ
NZ247 (Air New Zealand) – June 21 from Wellington, NZ to Sydney
Bondi: Totti’s Bondi – Saturday June 19, 5pm – 6.30pm
Mascot: Wallabies Thai Restaurant – Saturday June 19, 11.30am – 12pm (anyone who dined outside)
Bondi Junction: Chanel fragrance and beauty – Friday June 18, 12pm – 12.25pm
Sydney: ANZ Martin Place – Thursday June 17, 11.45am – 3.15pm (anyone on level 2)
Get tested and isolate until a negative test is received:
Bondi Junction: Coles Express at Shell Petrol Station – Friday June 18, 7.15pm – 7.45pm
Bondi Beach: Woolworths Metro Bondi Beach – Sunday June 20, 1pm – 1.30pm
Darlinghurst: Tropicana Cafe (takeaway) – Friday June 18, 12pm – 2pm
Mascot: BWS – Saturday June 19, 5pm – 5.30pm
Narellan: United Cinemas – Monday June 21, 5.40pm – 6pm
Meadowbank: TAFE NSW Meadowbank Campus (Building J) – Monday June 16, 8.40am – 5.20pm
Sydney: 338 Pitt Street (anyone in the lobby or the lifts of this building) – Monday June 21, 8.30am – 5.30pm
Potts Point: Coles Kings Cross – Monday June 21, 8pm – 9pm
Denham Cour: Coles Willowdale – Sunday June 20 between 4.45pm and 5pm and also on Monday between 5pm and 5.05pm.
Bondi North: Ampol service station, Old South Head Road – Tuesday June 22 between 8.00am and 8.10am
Paddington: Christo’s Pizzeria – Monday 21 June at 5.55pm – 8.30pm
Double Bay: Joh Bailey hairdresser -Thursday 17 June at 8am – 5pm, Friday 18 June at 8am – 5pm, Saturday 19 June at 8am – 5pm
Double Bay: Matteo Restaurant, Friday 18 June at 5.30pm – 7pm
Bondi: The Royal Bondi – Saturday June 19, 5pm – 6.30pm
Spring Farm: Woolworths – Sunday June 20, 9.30am – 10am
Mascot: Wallabies Thai Restaurant – Saturday June 19, 11.30am – 12pm (anyone who dined inside)
Bondi Junction: Starbucks – Friday June 18, 11am – 12pm
Sydney: ANZ Martin Place – Thursday June 17, 11.45am – 3.15pm (anyone on ground and level 1)
Mascot Central Shopping Precinct – Anytime between Friday June 18 and Tuesday June 22
Anyone who attended the following stories at the listed times should monitor for symptoms, and if they appear, isolate and get tested until a negative result is received
Meadowbank: TAFE NSW Meadowbank Campus (anywhere but Building J) – Monday June 16, 8.40am – 5.20pm
Petersham: Transport NSW Training Centre – Monday June 21, 4pm – 4.10pm
Anyone who travelled on the following bus and train routes at the times listed is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received
Bus 333: From Oxford Street after Newland Street to St Matthis Anglican Church, Oxford Street – Tuesday June 22, 1.07pm – 1.12pm
Train line from Bondi Junction to Mascot – Friday June 18, 6.55pm – 7.22pm
Train line from Mascot to Central – Saturday June 19, 5.26pm – 5.35pm
Train line from Central to Glenfield – Saturday June 19, 5.53pm – 6.38pm
Source: Daily Mail