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Sixteen additional coronavirus cases recorded in NSW as new restrictions announced

Sixteen new COVID-19 cases have been detected in New South Wales overnight as health authorities announced a slew of restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of a “very serious outbreak” of the highly contagious Delta variant.

The official case tally for Wednesday was 10 infections and included seven previously announced cases. A further 13 cases were recorded after the 8pm cut off and will be included in Thursday’s numbers.

A total of 31 cases have now been linked to the Bondi cluster.

“Our government will take action today to limit the spread of what is a very contagious variant of COVID-19,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday.

Cars line up for COVID-19 testing at Bondi in Sydney on Tuesday.
Cars line up for COVID-19 testing at Bondi in Sydney on Tuesday.

“We don’t take these steps lightly and we never want to impose restrictions unless we absolutely have to.”

The new restrictions will be introduced across Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour regions and come into force from 4pm on Wednesday.

They include a five-person visitor limit – including children – at home, compulsory face masks in all non-residential indoor settings, a ban on dancing in indoor venues, no standing up while drinking at public venues, a 20-person limit on gym classes and compulsory masks, and the reintroduction of the one person per four square metre rule at all venues, including weddings and funerals.

Outdoor seated events will also be limited to 50 per cent capacity and people who live or work in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, or Woollahra local government areas are barred from leaving metropolitan Sydney for non-essential travel.

Ms Berejiklian initially extended the compulsory mask rule for another seven days on Tuesday, and the restriction has now been expanded to include workplaces and organised outdoor events with the exception of when eating and drinking.

She did not rule out the possibility of introducing a lockdown but expressed confidence in the current public health measures.

“If we adhere to the health orders today, we will have a good chance of getting on top of this outbreak,” she said.

“I am not going to rule out further action, I am not gonna rule out what happens beyond a week, because we don’t know. We certainly didn’t expect this situation a few days ago.”

The three new cases included in Wednesday’s figures include a man in his 50s who works in Bondi Junction, a woman in her 40s from Wollongong who is a close contact of a previously identified case, and a man in his 30s from south-west Sydney who is also a close contact of a previously announced case.

Of the 13 cases identified overnight, eight have been linked to a 30-person birthday party in West Hoxton, near Liverpool in western Sydney, which was attended by a previously identified case that has been linked to the Bondi cluster.

Ten cases have since been linked to the party, including a two-year-old girl who attended Little Zak’s Academy childcare centre in Narellan Vale in Sydney’s south-west.

The childcare centre confirmed it had closed for cleaning and sanitisation in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

One of the remaining overnight cases is a close contact of a previously reported case linked to the Bondi cluster and the source of transmission for four of the cases is currently unknown.

“We know that all either reside or work in the south-eastern Sydney area so that gives us some comfort about the geographical spread,” Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said on Wednesday.

“There has obviously been some strains of transmission that have had the ability to amplify and we need those high testing rates and everyone to follow public health advice.”

More locations were added to the list of coronavirus exposure sites on Wednesday, including Wallabies Thai Restaurant in Mascot. Authorities are also urging anyone who attended Westfield Bondi Junction, particularly Fitness First, at any time between 12 and 18 June to come forward for testing.

More than 44,000 tests were recorded in New South Wales in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, up from 28,00 the previous day.

New Zealand moved to suspend the trans-Tasman travel bubble on Tuesday night after a Sydney man tested positive to COVID-19 after returning from a trip to Wellington.

It is believed the man was likely infectious while travelling and two flights have been identified as possible exposure sites. They are Qantas QF163, departing Sydney at 7.05pm on Friday June 18 for Wellington, and Air New Zealand NZ247, departing Wellington at 10.13am on Monday June 21 for Sydney.

Queensland and Victoria have also announced travel bans for people who have recently visited the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, or Woollahra local government areas.

Source: sbs