An alarming hotspot map reveals how COVID-19 has spread to almost all parts of Sydney – as experts warn New South Wales is on the verge of being hit by a second wave on the same scale as the one ravaging Victoria.
Victoria’s deadly outbreak grew by a record 723 cases and claimed 13 lives on Thursday – the darkest day in Australia since the fight against the virus began.
The number of cases in NSW pales in comparison to those being dealt with by its southern neighbour.
But the latest hotspot map shows new cases appearing over the past 10 days in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and on the Northern Beaches – after the city’s outbreak had initially been contained to the west.
One of those cases was in Curl Curl – marking the first case of community transmission on the Northern Beaches since April 27.
Pictured: A map showing the postcodes with the highest density of cases in Sydney since July 1. The city’s northern beaches and the eastern suburbs have both recorded their first cases this month in the past 10 days
A medical staff member conducts a test for COVID-19 at a pop-up testing centre in Sydney on Thursday. Experts have warned New South Wales could be on the verge of a coronavirus second wave as severe as the one in Victoria
A line of people are pictured waiting to get tested for COVID-19 on Thursday at a Sydney pop-up centre
Victorian authorities meanwhile are in a position where the only course of action is to ensure the state is ready for an onslaught of hospital-bound coronavirus patients, a senior government source said.
‘One senior figure in government in Australia has suggested to me that Victoria is too far gone – that it does not have the structures in place to quell the virus through contact tracing,’ Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clenell said on Thursday.
‘Now it just has to make sure it has to have enough ventilators, beds and personal protective equipment.’
While the daily infection totals in NSW have yet to exceed 20 over the past fortnight, a former federal government official has warned a single ‘super spreader’ event could trigger a Victorian-style outbreak.
‘NSW is not in a good place,’ Grattan Institute health economist and former secretary of the federal health department Stephen Duckett told nine.com.au.
‘Every day that goes by you’ve got a risk. While the virus is circulating there is always the chance there will be a super spreader event and then you will be in strife.’
Professor of epidemiology at the University of NSW’s Kirby Institute John Kaldor said the cases which posed the largest risk were those not linked to known cases or outbreaks.
ADF personnel are seen at the Epping Gardens Aged Care on Thursday. Victoria has confirmed a record 723 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths
NSW health workers carry out COVID-19 tests at a pop-up clinic at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The affluent region of Australia’s most populated city has seen 12 cases confirmed over the past 10 days
NSW’S ACTIVE COVID-19 CASES
SYDNEY’S SOUTH WEST
Casula, Chipping Norton: 15
Carnes Hill, Cecil Hills: 14
Bossley Park: 13
Austral, Leppington: 2
Catherine Fields: 1
Currans Hill, Mount Annan: 1
Lugarno, Peakhurst, Riverwood: 4
Engadine, Heathcote, Waterfall: 1
Beverley Park: 1
Allawah, Carlton: 1
Grays Point: 1
SYDNEY’S WEST and BLUE MOUNTAINS
Constitution Hill: 20
Parramatta, Harris Park: 8
Blacktown, Arndell Park: 5
Katoomba, Leura: 4
Winmalee, Springwood: 1
Oatlands, Dundas: 1
Erskine Park: 1
Glenmore Park: 1
Eastern Creek, Rooty Hill: 1
Orchard Hills: 1
Quakers Hill: 1
Baulkham Hills: 4
Curl Curl: 1
Batemans Bay: 3
Unanderra, Farmborough Heights: 2
Lake Illawarra: 1
Lake Illawarra: 1
Batemans Bay: 4
Active in NSW as of July 28
The percentage of cases in NSW not linked to known cases is only about 10 per cent, but Professor Kaldor said the virus can ‘move in ways you are not predicting’.
The warnings come as allegations of neglect emerged from the coronavirus-riddled Epping Gardens Aged Care home in Melbourne’s north.
Doctors have claimed patients were left dead in their beds for as long as six hours, The Australian reported.
On Monday, the ratio of staff-patient at the facility – which has yet to respond to the allegations – was reportedly one to 14 – when the normal ratio in public hospitals is one to four or five.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the nursing home for comment.
Two workers wearing PPE are seen pulling clinical waste bins at the Epping Gardens aged care home on Thursday. Allegations have emerged of patients being left dead in their beds for as long as six hours at the facility
A government source has warned Victoria’s deadly second wave may have spread so far health authorities can no longer use contact tracing to slow it down. Pictured are military staff outside the Epping Gardens facility on Thursday
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier on Thursday he supported the introduction of new measures to slow the virus’s spread in Melbourne, stating case numbers in the ‘Victorian wave’ were very concerning.
‘We have now been in this lockdown for some weeks and we are not getting the results we would hope for. And as a result the further measures that are taken are certainly necessary,’ Mr Morrison said.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday banned residents of the Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliff local government areas from receiving visitors at home from Friday.
INMATE’S POSITIVE TEST SPARKS PRISON DEEP CLEAN
Three more Sydney venues have been informed by NSW Health they were attended by a positive COVID-19 case.
Harpoon and Hotel Harry in Surry Hills, Tan Viet in Cabramatta and Matinee Coffee in Marrickville have all been closed for cleaning as contact tracing continues.
A positive case, the same person who attended the Apollo Restaurant in Potts Point, went to the Surry Hills pub on July 26.
The Marrickville cafe was attended by a positive case on July 26 and 27, while the Cabramatta restaurant was attended by a person with the coronavirus on July 23.
Meanwhile, a positive COVID-19 test for an inmate at Parklea jail has prompted a deep clean of the area where he had been isolated.
The man – who had recently been in Victoria – went into NSW custody on Sunday after being arrested for driving offences and refused bail.
Corrective Services NSW says he was isolated from the time of his arrest, underwent mandatory testing in prison and was then housed in isolation. He had no close contacts in custody.
‘CSNSW has established Isolation Hubs to safely manage COVID-19 positive inmates separate to other inmates,’ a spokeswoman said in a statement.
‘This is the first and only confirmed case of COVID-19 among correctional staff or inmates at any NSW correctional facility.’
The inmate’s case comes after NSW recorded 18 new coronavirus cases on Thursday – only two of them in hotel quarantine – from more than 27,000 tests.
He also extended compulsory mask wearing to the rest of Victoria from 11.59pm on Sunday.
‘It’s inconvenient, it’s challenging, but it’s essentially stage four for Melbourne and it’s something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost but get a really significant public health benefit,’ Mr Andrews told reporters on Thursday.
He also warned Melbourne’s crippling lockdown will likely be extended if case numbers continue to rise.
‘Ultimately, every Victorian, I think deep down knows and appreciates that unless everyone plays their part this lockdown will not end anytime soon,’ Mr Andrews said.
Australia’s coronavirus cases have dramatically spiked after the first wave of cases was all but beaten
Thursday’s figure is more than double Wednesday’s 295 infections and far exceeds the state’s previous record of 532 cases on Monday.
The additional 13 deaths on Thursday in Victoria takes the state’s death toll to 105 and national figure to 189. The fatalities are three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s.
Mr Andrews said 10 of the 13 deaths were aged care residents. There are 913 active cases in aged care facilities and a total of 5,885 active cases across the state.
He took the opportunity to criticise the anti-mask community, and warned people who film themselves arguing with police at lockdown checkpoints that they face a $10,000 fine.
‘I think they will be charged on summons. That will be a matter for others and I do not determine those matters but there is the on the spot $1652 fine and if you go through a court process it is much closer to $10,000 so it is a pretty significant penalty,’ he said.
Mr Andrews reiterated the importance of following health directives, urging the community to look out for one another.
‘This is not about human rights, this is about human life. This is not about some obscure nonsense you’ve read on a website.’
Medical workers evacuate a resident from the Epping Gardens aged care facility on Thursday
There are 312 Victorians battling coronavirus in hospital and 34 patients are fighting for their lives in intensive care.
The 723 cases on Thursday is more than the 697 cases recorded in the United Kingdom on Tuesday. The UK has reported 45,961 deaths since the pandemic begun.
Mr Andrews commended the majority of residents in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire for following the mandatory face mask rule, which was introduced one week ago.
‘And I’m deeply grateful for each of them for doing that. It’s inconvenient, it’s challenging, but it’s essentially Stage 4 for Melbourne,’ he said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced coronavirus restrictions will be extended beyond metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire (pictured in yellow) to six local government areas (pictured in red), where residents will not be allowed to visit other homes
The premier said extending mandatory face coverings to the rest of Victoria would provide a positive health benefit, without significant economic losses.
‘It’s something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but getting a really significant public health benefit,’ he said.
‘I know that may seem counter-intuitive, and many things in this virus are. But some of the transmission is household-to-household,’ Mr Andrews said.
Regional Victoria has 255 active cases, with 159 in six local areas around Geelong.
VICTORIA’S JULY CORONAVIRUS NIGHTMARE
Thursday, July 30 – 723 cases, 13 deaths – record daily numbers for Australia
Wednesday, July 29 – 295 cases, nine deaths. Victoria has more deaths than the rest of the country combined
Tuesday, July 28 – 384 cases, six deaths
Monday, July 27 – 532 cases, six deaths
Sunday, July 26 – 459 cases, national-record 10 deaths
Saturday, July 25 – 357 cases, five deaths
Friday July 24 – 300 cases, seven deaths, contract tracing expanded
Thursday July 23 – 403 cases, five deaths, worst day for fatalities in any state, masks now mandatory
Wednesday July 22 – 484 cases, two deaths
Tuesday July 21 – 374 cases, three deaths
Monday July 20 – 275 cases, one death
Sunday July 19 – 363 cases, three deaths, notice that masks will become mandatory in lockdown areas
Saturday July 18 – 217 cases, three deaths, final Melbourne public housing tower released from hard lockdown
Friday July 17 – 428 cases, three deaths
Thursday July 16 – 317 cases, two deaths
Wednesday July 15 – 238 cases, one death
Tuesday July 14 – 270 cases, two deaths
Monday July 13 – 177 cases
Sunday July 12 – 273 cases, one death
Saturday July 11 – 216 cases, one death
Friday July 10 – 288 cases, a national daily record at the time
Thursday July 9 – 165 cases, eight of nine Melbourne public housing towers released from hard lockdown
Wednesday July 8 – 134 cases, new stage-three restrictions announced for metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire
Tuesday July 7 – 191 cases
Monday July 6 – 127 cases, two deaths, NSW border closed
Sunday July 5 – 74 cases
Saturday July 4 – 108 cases, immediate hard lockdown of nine Melbourne public housing towers
Friday July 3 – 66 cases
Thursday July 2 – 77 cases
Wednesday July 1 – 73 cases
Mr Andrews said there were 30 Australian Defence Force teams door-knocking in Victoria on Wednesday and 269 homes were visited.
A number of coronavirus-infected residents were not home.
‘Now, I don’t want this to be seen as criticism or blame, but I’m obliged to point out that there were a number of people who were not home,’ he said.
‘They will be referred to Victoria Police.’
Mr Andrews said one resident was actually at work instead of isolating at home.
‘They weren’t home, but a family member was, and the family member helpfully pointed out that that person, a positive coronavirus case, was, in fact, at work,’ he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured on Thursday) warned that Melbourne’s crippling lockdown will likely be extended if case numbers continue to rise. ‘Ultimately, every Victorian, I think deep down knows and appreciates that unless everyone plays their part this lockdown will not end anytime soon,’ Mr Andrews said
There were 19,921 coronavirus tests since Wednesday’s update.
Mr Andrews, who said more than one in five Victorians have tested for the virus, thanked residents who have come forward for testing.
‘And what that means is we can track the virus, we can put our best efforts to work to try and contain the spread beyond you and your close contacts.
‘But, of course, if you’re not coming forward and getting tested, we simply don’t have that knowledge.
‘And it’s impressive to think that we have one of the highest testing rates anywhere in the world. More than one in five Victorians have been tested.’
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos described Thursday’s record coronavirus cases as ‘disappointing’.
Victoria broke the record for its single daily increase in coronavirus cases on Thursday. Pictured: Medical staff are seen at St Basil’s Home for the Aged Care in Fawkner
Ms Mikakos said more hospitalisations and deaths are inevitable.
‘I implore Victorians to continue to follow the rules. I know it’s tiresome, people are getting weary, but it is important that everyone continues to follow all of the legal restrictions,’ she said.
‘And that includes those in regional Victoria now.’
Prime Minister Scott Morrison encouraged Australians across Victoria and the country to comply and work cooperatively with the requests being made by authorities.
‘The most concerning part of the information released today was that there were a further 13 deaths,’ Mr Morrison said.