The NSW government has slammed the brakes on easing more restrictions, as the state records another 11 locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus.
NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 13 new cases, two of which were diagnosed in hotel quarantine, telling reporters “this is the most concerned we’ve been since that first incident when the Victorian citizen came up, infected his colleagues and went for a drink at a hotel.”
“Our state is on the verge of being where it was when we had the first seeding incident from Victoria,” she said.
Nine of the new cases are linked to the emerging cluster at a Lakemba GP clinic, while the other two are linked to a different cluster.
“It’s reassuring overnight that the cases were linked to known clusters,” chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant told reporters.
“(But) due to the large nature of the contacts that we’ve had to do, the multiple venues, all of that means that there is potentially infectious people in many settings.”
On Tuesday, the NSW government announced COVID-19 hospitality restrictions would be eased from Friday with up to 500 people allowed to attend open-air concerts as long as they stay seated and four metres apart.
Restrictions for outdoor dining venues will also be relaxed, allowing one patron per two square metres as long as venues use an electronic QR code to record patrons’ contact details.
The premier said the government had planned to announced the easing of more restrictions on hospitality today, but has been forced to reconsider.
“We had intended to ease some further restrictions but are holding off until Dr Chant gives us the green light to say we’re over the existing current concerns,” Ms Berejiklian said.
A public health alert has been issued for seven shops and restaurants in Sydney’s southwest as authorities work to suppress the spread of COVID-19 in the hotspot.
A pop-up clinic for COVID-19 testing has been set up at Julia Reserve Community Centre in Oran Park and authorities are urging people to get tested.
While 16,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, almost double the number on Monday, Health Minister Brad Hazzard says it isn’t enough.
“The numbers that we got overnight are just reminiscent to me of Crossroads (outbreak) and it worries me that perhaps the community are not actually coming out in the numbers that we need to be tested,” he said.
“Just thinking you might have hay fever is no excuse to not get tested.
Australian Associated Press