Pubs and restaurants in NSW could be forced to shut their doors again if the state’s coronavirus infections continue to rise.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged Sydneysiders to limit their activities as the state recorded 20 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.
Government sources claimed tighter restrictions – such as the targeted closure of pubs and restaurants, as well as compulsory face masks – are more likely than total lockdown if infections continue to climb.
NSW health authorities have also urged young people to take the virus ‘seriously’, as a person in their 30s battles coronavirus in intensive care.
Queensland Health on Monday also confirmed a man in his 20s had been rushed to hospital after contracting the killer virus overseas.
Victoria reported 275 infections and the death of an aged care resident in her 80s, bringing the number of deaths in the state to 39 and the national toll to 123.
Tasmania recorded its first coronavirus case in more than two months after a young woman returned to the island from infected Victoria.
Pubs and restaurants in NSW could be forced to shut their doors again if the state’s coronavirus infections continue to rise
Pubs and restaurants in NSW could be forced to shut their doors again if the state’s coronavirus infections continue to rise. Pictured: Health workers are seen in PPE
Three of the 20 cases reported in NSW in the 24 hours are linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, bringing the total number of cases linked to the cluster to 48.
Eight new cases are linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park, four are linked to the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, four are returned travellers in hotel quarantine and one is a person who has returned from Victoria.
Ms Berejiklian said she was concerned that NSW was at a ‘critical point’ in the pandemic.
She said the state has the chance to get ahead of the virus and control the spread if residents limit their activities and practise social distancing over the next few weeks.
‘If you cannot guarantee social distancing where you’re going … you must wear a mask,’ she told reporters in Sydney.
‘We encourage everybody to limit their behaviour or activity in the next few weeks especially around large crowds.’
The state government has already tightened some coronavirus restrictions by reducing pub bookings from 20 to 10 and limiting venues to a max of 300.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, several ministers have claimed the mood in cabinet is ‘extremely anxious’ and NSW needs to reintroduce further restrictions.
‘Lockdowns of sectors could happen, predominantly pubs and restaurants,’ one minister said.
Pictured: Medical staff at a pop-up COVID-19 site in Casula, Sydney’s south-west
Another minister said there was ‘no appetite for a full lockdown’ but a feeling that some restrictions needed to be altered.
‘I think there is a feeling that some things may have gone too far, too quickly and we will need to tighten some areas again,’ the minister said.
‘I think given the cautious nature of Gladys, she was probably pushed further into opening things up by [Deputy Premier John] Barilaro and [Treasurer Dominic] Perrottet than she felt comfortable with.’
Another minister told the publication they think masks will be seen ‘before a shut down’, adding that a complete lockdown doesn’t seem likely.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said there were 96 people being treated for coronavirus with two patients in intensive care including a person in their 30s.
‘I also would like to highlight that one of those cases in intensive care is actually a person in their 30s,’ Dr Chant said.
‘I think it always is important to highlight that because often we tend to say, ”This disease affects the elderly” – and it does on average, but there will still be young people that are impacted.
A couple wearing face masks in Melbourne this week. The protective item will be mandatory in the state from 11.59pm on Wednesday
Victoria reported 275 infections and the death of an aged care resident in her 80s on Monday
The worrying spread of the highly contagious virus comes as thousands of protesters plan another Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller slammed demonstrators for ‘playing Russian roulette’ as COVID-19 cases continue to grow
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller slammed demonstrators for ‘playing Russian roulette’ as COVID-19 cases continue to grow.
Mr Fuller says NSW Police will attempt to block the protest planned for July 28 in the Supreme Court.
He urged the public not to be ‘selfish’ during this time, encouraging people to protest online in order to protect the community.
‘Looking at the intelligence coming out of the Black Lives Matters protest in Melbourne, and that people who attended it came from the vertical towers, there are serious concerns,’ he told The Australian.
‘I don’t want to see the same thing happen in NSW, and getting a big group together for a Black Lives Matters protest in Sydney, when you know the dangers, is playing Russian roulette with the nearly eight million people who live in the state.
‘We’ll be going to the Supreme Court to stop it from going ahead — win, lose or draw, if anyone turns up and breaches public health orders, we’ll start writing tickets for a thousand dollars.’
More than 4000 people have registered their interest in attending the rally, which aims to highlight the issue of Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Event organisers provided ‘a COVID-19 safety checklist’ on Facebook on Monday, encouraging protesters to obey social distancing, wear masks and obey hand hygiene, with ‘safety teams’ present at the rally to monitor and provide these items if needed.
‘While large crowds continue to gather in Sydney for commercial purposes … we will continue to assert our rights to protest,’ the Facebook post read on Monday.
Pictured: Black Lives Matter protesters gather at Sydney’s Town Hall on June 6
A terrifying map shows how far coronavirus has spread across Sydney, with cases continuing to pop up at gyms, McDonald’s, busy pubs, restaurants and supermarkets
The worrying spread of the highly contagious virus comes as thousands of protesters plan another Black Lives Matter rally in Sydney. Pictured: Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney on June 6
Tasmania’s public health department confirmed the new COVID-19 case on Monday night.
The woman had been in hotel quarantine in Tasmania’s south but is now being treated in the Royal Hobart Hospital.
The state had last recorded a COVID-19 infection more than 60 days ago and became free of active cases in mid-June.
The new infection takes Tasmania’s overall number of cases since the start of the pandemic to 227.
Further information about the woman is expected to be revealed on Tuesday.
‘I’ve said to Tasmanians on many occasions, we will see positive cases,’ Premier Peter Gutwein said.
‘Importantly, this one has been picked up in our hotel quarantine.’
Tasmania has banned the entry of non-essential travellers from Victoria but residents are allowed to return home from the virus-hit mainland state provided they quarantine in government accommodation for two weeks.
Queensland Health reported one new coronavirus case on Monday, following the positive test result of a man in his 20s.
From Thursday, face masks will be compulsory for Victorians living in locked down areas
People walk along Bondi Beach in Sydney on Sunday. Residents are being urged to avoid public transport and social gatherings as case numbers increase
The man, who was on a freight ship off the coast of Queensland, has been transferred to Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
There are 18 crew members still on board. They have all tested negative to coronavirus but will stay on the ship, which is currently anchored 17km off Queensland’s coast, to undergo further testing.
Queensland currently has two active COVID-19 cases. Both cases are in hospital.
Almost 3,000 coronavirus cases remain active in Victoria, with 147 people in hospital, including 31 in intensive care.
Sixteen of those in intensive care are on ventilators, a state government spokeswoman told AAP.
After more than a fortnight of triple-digit case number increases every day, including a record 428 on Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was too soon to know if the curve was flattening.
‘We had a very big day Friday and then we had a substantial drop-off, even though we had done more tests,’ he told reporters on Monday.
Mr Andrews said it could take up to two weeks for the effects of the stage three lockdown in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to be reflected in the figures.
‘Let’s wait to see how the week unfolds, certainly, we’re always happier to report lower numbers than higher ones, particularly when you see testing continue at such a high rate,’ he said.
From 11.59pm on Wednesday, face masks will be compulsory for Victorians living in locked down areas.
People wear masks as they walk around Melbourne on Sunday. The city has been under a second lockdown for almost two weeks
Pictured: Medical staff at a pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic in Sydney on July 11
If residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire leave their house for one of the four allowed reasons without a mask or face covering after Wednesday, they could be hit with a $200 penalty.
Swinburne University of Technology dean of Health Science Bruce Thompson has urged Victorians to treat their face masks like underwear.
‘Assume your mask is like underwear. So don’t take it off in the middle of public. Don’t fiddle with it in the middle of public, don’t share them with somebody else,’ Professor Thompson said on Monday.
‘The concept of actually taking your underwear off in public and putting them on a kitchen bench is horrible – but that’s effectively what you are doing.’
He recommended having six to 12 masks ready for use on rotation, just as a person would with underwear.
‘Masks are important and they are basically another tool in the armoury,’ Prof Thompson said.
‘The only way for the virus to actually spread is it has some form of human-to-human contact, either direct touching or via a droplet or something like that because someone is in very close proximity to them.’