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How Sydney Bondi Junction Covid outbreak compares to Northern Beaches cluster Delta variant

How Sydney’s latest Covid outbreak compares to the Northern Beaches cluster and why the Delta variant is a worrying sign for the city

  • Officials rejecting similarities between Bondi and Northern Beaches clusters
  • Sydney’s latest outbreak skyrocketed to 31 cases on Wednesday morning 
  • NSW Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said city’s two major clusters aren’t similar
  • She says the Delta variant adds another level of concern given infectiousness 

Health officials reject comparisons between Bondi’s coronavirus cluster with the outbreak that locked down the Northern Beaches over Christmas and the New Year.

Sydney’s latest cluster increased to 31 on Wednesday, with another three recorded after Tuesday’s 8pm cut-off that will be included in Thursday’s report.

The first reported case, which originated in Avalon, was reported on December 16 and spanned until January 14 – with 151 cases linked to the cluster.

Dr Kerry Chant dismissed comparisons between the Beaches outbreak and Bondi Junction’s situation, saying in a press conference on Wednesday morning that the Delta variant added increased headaches.

‘Every cluster has a unique characteristic and what we saw with the Northern Beaches cluster was a super-spreader event that there were two different values that amplified the transmission and then we were able to get on top of it,’ she said.

Bondi Junction’s cluster skyrocketed to 31 on Wednesday, with a further three recorded after Tuesday’s 8pm cut-off which will be included in Thursday’s report

The Northern Beaches cluster, that originated in Avalon, was reported on December 16 and spanned until January 14 - with 151 cases linked to the cluster

The Northern Beaches cluster, that originated in Avalon, was reported on December 16 and spanned until January 14 – with 151 cases linked to the cluster

‘We’re not dealing with Delta at that time. What is particularly concerning is usually we would have seen a retail environment as low risk settings. 

‘If you are shopping in the department store, they are generally not crowded places. They are not when walking around, generally people do try to keep some distance.’

Dr Chant said the ‘surprising element’ posed is the Delta variant needed only ‘inadvertent contact’ to transmit, which increased the threat to the community.

She also described a West Hoxton party, which has resulted in 10 cases so far, as a ‘super-spreader event’ and expected further cases to come as a result.

‘Under my definition, I would say that that is a super spreader,’ she said. ‘I think it’s important not to label individuals as… I am cautious with the tide.

‘Clearly having 10 people test positive in such a short timeframe, and I would expect over coming days we will announce further cases.’   

Health workers are pictured at the Bondi Beach Drive-through Covid-19 clinic in Sydney's eastern suburbs on Wednesday. Contact tracers are scrambling to trace four cases with no known source

Health workers are pictured at the Bondi Beach Drive-through Covid-19 clinic in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Wednesday. Contact tracers are scrambling to trace four cases with no known source

NSW recorded 13 cases of Covid-19 community transmission overnight but Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stopped short of sending Sydney into a lockdown.

Ms Berejiklian said health officials found 10 local cases from 44,000 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night – nine of which had already been announced.

Since that cut-off, she said another 13 infections were found in the community – eight of whom were at the same party at West Hoxton in Sydney’s far-west. 

For the next week from 4pm on Wednesday, household gatherings will be limited to five visitors and masks will be compulsory in all all indoor non-residential settings including workplaces.

Drinking while standing at indoor venues will also be banned once again and those who live and work in seven hotspot suburbs will not be allowed to leave metropolitan Sydney unless they have an essential reason.

The tightened rules – which include a 50 per cent capacity restriction for outdoor seated events – will apply to Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Central Coast and Shellharbour regions.  

WHAT ARE THE NEW COVID RESTRICTIONS?  

From 4pm Wednesday for one week:

Visitors to households will be limited to 5 guests – including children;

Masks will be compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings, including workplaces, and at organised outdoor events;

Drinking while standing at indoor venues will not be allowed;

Singing by audiences at indoor shows or by congregants at indoor places of worship will not be allowed;

Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs however, dancing is allowed at weddings for the bridal party only (no more than 20 people);

Dance and gym classes limited to 20 per class (masks must be worn);

The one person per four square metre rule will be re-introduced for all indoor and outdoor settings, including weddings and funerals;

Outdoor seated events will be limited to 50% seated capacity;

Previous public transport capacity limits, represented by green dots, will be reintroduced



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