New South Wales records THREE new coronavirus cases linked to known clusters as Northern Beaches enjoys first day of freedom after weeks in lockdown
- New South Wales reported three new locally acquired Covid-19 cases Sunday
- Two linked to the Berala cluster, in western Sydney, and one to Avalon
- Residents north of Narrabeen Bridge in Sydney had stay-at-home orders lifted
- The region had been in hard lockdown since outbreak of Covid-19 in December
State premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Sunday two of the cases were linked to Berala, in Sydney’s west, and the other case linked to the Avalon cluster, on the northern beaches.
Three cases were also linked to returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
The news comes as residents north of Narrabeen Bridge on Sydney’s northern beaches have finally had their stay-at-home orders lifted.
‘I want to thank the Northern Beaches community for what they have gone through,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘For being so compliant, and for making sacrifices which have ensured that the lines of transmission did not spread in a manner which was out of control for the rest of Greater Sydney and, in fact, the state.’
Residents wearing face masks stroll the streets in the Sydney CBD on January 2
Health workers testing for coronavirus at Merrylands in southwest Sydney on Thursday
The northern beaches had been placed into lockdown since December 19 with residents only allowed to leave their homes for essential shopping, work, exercise or healthcare reasons.
The region was split into the Southern and Northern zones with residents divided over both sides of the Narrabeen bridge.
Stay-at-home orders were lifted earlier for the Southern Zone with lockdown eased on January 2.
The Northern Zone finally had its lockdown rolled back on Sunday, with residents making the most of the newfound freedom and enjoying a day out.
Ms Berejiklian praised Sydneysiders for following the lockdown rules and coming out the other end of a tough period.
‘The geographic significance of the northern beaches allowed us to have a localised response,’ she said.
‘The important thing during the pandemic is to appreciate and accept the response that we have to a particular outbreak.’
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant added the new case in the northern beaches did not jeopardise the recent rollback of lockdown in the area.
‘The case I mentioned today was in the southern side. We do actually believe that case was an older case but we do wait for serology on that,’ she said.
‘We take a precautionary approach as you’re aware.’
There were 23,763 tests were carried out in the 24-hour period to 8pm on Saturday.
Customers are seen wearing face masks at Westfield Bondi Junction after they became mandatory in Sydney
NEW VENUE ALERTS FOR NSW
There were 86 separate health alerts for NSW venues on the NSW Health website and 27 for public transport routes on Saturday night.
The public is urged to check the website here to see if you were at any of those places at the red-flagged dates and times.
If you were, you may have come in contact with the virus: isolate and test.
NEW SYDNEY VENUES EXPOSED
Campsie: Big W, Sunday 3 January 1.20pm – 1.40pm
Campsie: Chemist Warehouse, Friday, 8 January 12pm – 12.30pm
Campsie: Campsie Medical and Dental, Friday 8 January 10.40am – 11.30am
Casula: Costco, Saturday, 2 January 4.45pm-6.15pm
Bankstown: Myer, ground floor, Wednesday, 6 January 11.30am – 12.40pm
‘We need to maintain those high rates of testing for at least 14 days and I would like to see them sustained beyond that,’ Dr Chant said.
On Saturday, Ms Berejiklian said more cases of the mutated United Kingdom and South African strains of Covid-19 will turn up in Australians returning home and spending time in hotel quarantine systems.
She also believes mask usage will be mandatory for the foreseeable future.
NSW recorded one new locally-acquired case of Covid-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.
The single local infection was a contact of a case linked to the Berala cluster, which now numbers 21, and came from more than 25,000 tests.
There were also five new cases in travellers in hotel quarantine.
Sydney residents wearing face masks step out onto the streets of the CBD to do some shopping
Australia faces an anxious wait to see if the highly-contagious UK version of the virus has spread from Brisbane.
Greater Brisbane is halfway through a three-day lockdown after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel was diagnosed with the more infectious British strain.
The NSW government subsequently ordered anyone in the state who had been in Greater Brisbane since January 2 to adhere to the same regulations.
Travellers from the area will only be able to leave their accommodation until 6pm on Monday to shop, exercise, work, perform care or seek medical help.
Anyone already in transit from Greater Brisbane to NSW must abide by Queensland’s isolation rules and act as if they had remained in Brisbane.
Ms Berejiklian on Saturday warned NSW residents the contagious UK and South African strains would likely become dominant in countries failing to suppress Covid-19 transmission.
Health care workers stationed at a Merrylands Covid-19 testing clinic, in western Sydney
‘It’s important for us to learn as much as we can during this time … I also want to stress we shouldn’t be attributing these variants to one country because the so-called UK strain now exists in 30 countries,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘We have to assume that this strain will become the dominant strain, and it is important to keep re-assessing our settings, keep staying vigilant.’
Casual-contact alerts have been issued for the Artisaint Cafe at the Crowne Plaza Sydney Burwood and the Burwood Bing Lee on January 6.
Those who attended Westfield Burwood and several shops inside the complex on January 6 and 7 have also been advised to monitor for symptoms, as have patrons of Costume clothes shop at Avalon Beach on New Year’s Eve.
A prior alert for Sydney Marina restaurant in Pendle Hill has also been upgraded to a casual-contact alert, meaning patrons must seek testing.
Coronavirus testing at Merrylands in Sydney’s southwest, a region of the city where a number of affected venues are located