New South Wales has recorded 11 new local cases of Covid-19 overnight as five of the state’s MPs are forced into isolation after a minister tested positive to the virus.
The 11 new cases includes six recorded overnight since 8pm and five unreported infections from Wednesday’s figures.
There are now 36 cases linked to the state’s latest outbreak, which has forced Premier Gladys Berejiklian to impose widespread restrictions to slow the spread of the highly-contagious Delta strain of the virus.
The positive community cases came from 48,402 tests, up from the 44,640 carried out the day before.
NSW Health said 11 of the 30 people who went to a birthday party in West Hoxton in Sydney’s west had now returned positive Covid-19 results.
Fears are mounting that millions of Sydneysiders may soon be confined to their homes as the highly infectious Indian strain of Covid spreads across the city, as an expert revealed the three key factors that could keep the city out of lockdown.
The uncertainty gripping the Government comes as NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and four other MPs are forced into isolation after being close contacts of Agriculture Minister, Adam Marshall, who has tested positive to Covid.
Mr Hazzard believes Premier Gladys Berejiklian is ‘fairly safe’ from becoming infected, although discussions were underway about closing Parliament. The parliament’s whips sent notes to MPs members urging them not to bring in staff before both houses sit on Thursday.
Epidemiologist Dr Abrar Chughtai said whether Sydney would be sent into lockdown would hinge on three key factors – vaccination levels, the nature of the Covid-19 strain being spread and how active the cases were in the community.
New South Wales has recorded 11 new local cases of Covid-19 overnight. Commuters pictured wearing face masks on a train platform at Central Station on Wednesday
‘If all cases are close contacts and you are able to trace all contacts of those cases, then you probably don’t need lockdown,’ he told ABC News.
Queensland on Thursday recorded three new local cases after an infected woman in her 30s visited the Portuguese Family Centre restaurant in Ellen Grove in Brisbane’s south-west.
Sixteen new infections were announced in NSW on Wednesday, bringing the total to 36 new community cases in the Harbour City after a super spreader event saw 10 people infected at a birthday party, which was attended by 30 people.
Ms Berejiklian said on Wednesday she did not want to impose a debilitating lockdown unless she had no other option.
‘I am not going to rule out further action, I am not going to rule out what happens beyond a week,’ she said.
But sources close to the Berejiklian government have hinted Thursday will see ‘big numbers’ of new infections, with Sydneysiders ordered not to leave the city.
Covid cases are on the rise in Sydney with sources saying Thursday will bring ‘big numbers’ (pictured, a couple in mandatory masks in Manly)
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured on Wednesday) has so far managed to fend off a lockdown, instead bringing in restrictions including limited visitors to the home and mandatory masks – even in offices
Lockdown-happy premiers in other states including Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland have already slammed their borders shut, disrupting school holiday plans for thousands.
Ms Berejiklian, who has always strived to take a measured approach to outbreaks, has so far stood firm by refusing to lock down Sydney, instead bringing in a number of restrictions including limits of five visitors to a household and mandatory masks.
In the face of a growing number of cases, a senior health source admitted to Daily Mail Australia that the trend of infections is ‘not good’.
THE THREE FACTORS THAT COULD SEND SYDNEY INTO LOCKDOWN
The city’s vaccination levels
The transmissibility of the Covid-19 variant
How active the cases were in the community while they were infectious
Source: UNSW epidemiologist Dr Abrar Chughtai
When asked about a potential lockdown, the source said: ‘It certainly looks like that’s where we are heading.’
Four new mystery infections have contributed to widespread speculation that the city will be locked down by the end of the week, with sources telling the ABC and 7 News such restrictions could be imminent with a big spike in cases to be announced.
The Indian variant is so contagious that two people in Bondi this week caught Covid by momentarily brushing past each other.
While other premiers have locked down state capitals after just two cases, Ms Berejiklian has always tried to strike a balance between public health and economic and mental wellbeing.
But she conceded that approach may have to change if cases begin to spiral out of control, particularly those not linked to known outbreaks.
‘We have always said we will not burden our citizens unless we absolutely have to,’ she said on Wednesday.
‘If we need to take further action within the week or after the week, we are open to that.’
Her close ally NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has rubbished claims that a lockdown is imminent, saying they have ‘zero’ truth to them.
‘No plan to lockdown contrary to reports this evening,’ Mr Hazzard told news.com.au on Wednesday night.
‘Measures implemented this afternoon are proportionate and appropriate. Reports of a lockdown are greatly exaggerated.’
Those who live and work in seven hotspot suburbs will not be allowed to leave metropolitan Sydney unless they have an essential reason
Prime Minister Scott Morrison praised the NSW’s premier’s approach.
‘She hasn’t gone to lock down Australia’s biggest city,’ he said.
‘But has taken the positive decision to keep Sydney and NSW open for its residents and to continue to rely on what is Australia’s best contact tracing system.’
On Wednesday evening, NSW Health added 12 stores, a busy bus route and three train lines to the burgeoning list of exposure sites in the city. Pictured: Passengers at Sydney Domestic Airport
The outbreak has forced Ms Berejiklian to bring in new restrictions, including banning people from metropolitan Sydney from leaving the city, but she stopped short of shutting down businesses.
Her interstate counterparts were quick to slam their borders shut to residents amid the latest outbreak, ruining travel plans for many over the school holidays, which begin on Friday.
Queensland’s premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has rushed to declare all of Sydney a Covid-19 hotspot, slamming the borders shut to millions.
Lockdown-happy premiers in other states including Western Australia , Victoria and Queensland have already slammed their borders shut, disrupting school holiday plans for thousands (inset, the Sydney suburbs deemed ‘hotspots’)
The move came after draconian moves by Western Australia and South Australia, which have shut the border to the entire of New South Wales.
In Victoria, people from seven local government areas are banned from the state – City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick.
The majority of the 16 new cases stem from a birthday party on Saturday in West Hoxton, in western Sydney, which included an infected Bondi Junction Westfield worker.
The woman was not suffering any symptoms at the time, but was tested the next day when they developed and received a positive result on Monday.
Passengers are seen lining up to check in at Sydney Domestic Airport on Wednesday as states rushed to shut their borders
All party attendees were ordered into self-isolation, with eight partygoers who came forward for testing on Tuesday found to have contracted the virus.
This includes a two-year-old child who attended Little Zak’s childcare in Narellan Vale, near Campbelltown, on Monday.
NSW Health added 12 stores, a busy bus route and three train lines to the burgeoning list of exposure sites in the city late on Wednesday evening.
New venues included three eastern suburbs supermarkets, a TAFE building in Meadowbank, and an office building on Pitt Street in the CBD.
NEW COVID-19 RULES FOR GREATER SYDNEY
From 4pm Wednesday for one week:
Visitors to households will be limited to five 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 per cent seated capacity;
Previous public transport capacity limits, represented by green dots, will be reintroduced
A BWS store in Mascot is also on alert, along with United Cinemas in Narellan, and three trendy eastern suburbs cafes.
Sydneysiders who were at the Tropicana Cafe in Darlinghurst between 12pm and 2pm on Friday 18 June, or Ikaria Bondi between 5pm and 7pm on Sunday June 20 have been told to contact NSW Health immediately and isolate for two weeks.
Shoppers at Coles Express Shell Petrol station on Birrell Street in Bondi Junction in the half an hour after 7.15pm on June 18 should get tested and isolate immediately, along with anyone who was at Wooworths Metro at Bondi Beach between 1 and 1.30pm on June 20.
Visitors at to Coles Kings Cross in Potts Point between 8pm and 9pm on Monday June 21 should also get tested and isolate, along with anyone who was at the Transport NSW Training Centre in Petersham between 4 and 4.10pm on Monday.
New exposure sight: On Wednesday, it was announced the Joh Bailey salon was exposed from June 17 to June 19
A public health warning has also been issued Christo’s Pizzeria in near Paddington (pictured)
STATES THAT HAVE BANNED SYDNEYSIDERS:
Queensland: Sydney declared a hotspot, banning entry into the Sunshine State
WA: All of NSW banned
SA: All of NSW banned
Victoria: Sydney hotspots banned- Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick
Tasmania: Sydney hotspots banned
Northern Territory: Anyone from Sydney hotspots must quarantine for 14 days.
ACT: Sydney hotspots banned
Five bus journeys were also added to the close contact list, with alerts for anyone who was on specific trips on the 600 or 665 buses on Sunday June 20.
Anyone who travelled on bus 333 between 1.07pm and 1.12pm on Tuesday June 22 is also considered a casual contact and should get tested and self-isolate immediately.
Three trains lines are also on the list, including one that travelled from Bondi Junction to Mascot on Friday June 18 between 6.55pm and 7.22pm.
Another travelled from Mascot to Central on Saturday June 19 between 5.26pm and 5.35pm, and the third went from Central to Glenfield on the same day between 5.53pm and 6.38pm.
Two venues in the ritzy suburb of Double Bay have now been added to the city’s growing list of exposure sites, including restaurant Matteo and the salon of renowned stylist, Joh Bailey.
A public health warning has also been issued Christo’s Pizzeria in nearby Paddington.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the outbreak demonstrated how quickly transmission could occur.
‘There were about 30 people at that gathering in a house and the person was unknowingly infectious, did not have symptoms, and had not attended venues,’ Dr Chant said.
A number of bus journeys were added to the close contact list on Wednesday evening with alerts for anyone who was on specific trips on the 600 or 665 buses on Sunday June 20 (pictured, a woman getting on a bus in Sydney)
The majority of the 16 new cases stem from a birthday party on Saturday in West Hoxton, in western Sydney, which included an infected Bondi Junction Westfield worker (pictured, testing at Bondi Beach)
‘What you can see is that those test results indicate how quickly the virus was transmitted in that circumstance… And that is on day two after exposure.
‘All those individuals would have unknowingly had the infection on Monday.’
Contact tracers are scrambling to determine exposure sites visited by the positive cases, as well as trying to trace the four new mystery infections.
The Bondi cluster began last week after a Sydney Airport limousine driver tested positive to the highly-infectious Delta variant, which started spreading at Bondi Junction’s busy Westfield shopping centre.
For the next week from 4pm on Wednesday, household gatherings are limited to five visitors and masks are compulsory in all indoor venues, including workplaces and gym classes.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the outbreak demonstrated how quickly transmission could occur (pictured, women leaving Westfield Bondi Junction on Wednesday amid a wave of new infections)
Drinking while standing in pubs and bars is also banned and those who live and work in seven hotspot council areas are not allowed to leave metropolitan Sydney unless they have an essential reason.
Those council areas are the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick – home to around 782,000 residents.
The tightened rules – which also include a 50 per cent capacity restriction for outdoor seated events – applies to Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Central Coast and Shellharbour regions.
Ms Berejiklian said the growth of ‘unlinked cases’ in the state meant she needed to take proportionate action to stop the highly-contagious Indian Delta variant from spreading.
‘If you live or work in any of those impacted LGAs we don’t want you moving outside of metropolitan Sydney other than for one of four essential purposes,’ she said.
‘Unless you are visiting a relative in care or have to go to work you should not be going outside the city for the next week.’
She clarified the boundaries of metropolitan Sydney were the city itself, the Blue Mountains, Shellharbour, Wollongong and the Central Coast.
The one person per four square metre rule in indoor venues has also come back into force.
NEW EXPOSURE SITES IN SYDNEY
Call NSW Health immediately, get tested and isolate regardless of the result:
Darlinghurst: Tropicana Cafe – Friday June 18, 12pm – 2pm
Bondi Beach: Ikaria Bondi – Sunday June 20, 5pm – 7pm
600 bus from Bankwest Stadium to Pennant Hills Station on June 20 between 4.04pm and 4.50pm
665 bus from Parramatta Station to Rouse Hill Station on June 20 between 7.30pm to 7.56pm
665 bus from Rouse Hill Station to Parramatta Station on June 20 between 8.20pm to 8.45pm
665 bus from Parramatta Station to Rouse Hill Station on June 20 between 9.00pm to 9.26pm
Wetherill Park Shopping Centre Nando’s -Sunday June 20 between 6pm and 7pm
Surry Hills Lumiere Cafe – Monday June 21 between 1pm and 2pm
Redfern Bamboo Thai restaurant – Monday June 21 between 6.15pm and 7.10pm.
QF163 (Qantas) – June 18 from Sydney to Wellington, NZ
NZ247 (Air New Zealand) – June 21 from Wellington, NZ to Sydney
Bondi: Totti’s Bondi – Saturday June 19, 5pm – 6.30pm
Mascot: Wallabies Thai Restaurant – Saturday June 19, 11.30am – 12pm (anyone who dined outside)
Bondi Junction: Chanel fragrance and beauty – Friday June 18, 12pm – 12.25pm
Sydney: ANZ Martin Place – Thursday June 17, 11.45am – 3.15pm (anyone on level 2)
Get tested and isolate until a negative test is received:
Bondi Junction: Coles Express at Shell Petrol Station – Friday June 18, 7.15pm – 7.45pm
Bondi Beach: Woolworths Metro Bondi Beach – Sunday June 20, 1pm – 1.30pm
Darlinghurst: Tropicana Cafe (takeaway) – Friday June 18, 12pm – 2pm
Mascot: BWS – Saturday June 19, 5pm – 5.30pm
Narellan: United Cinemas – Monday June 21, 5.40pm – 6pm
Meadowbank: TAFE NSW Meadowbank Campus (Building J) – Monday June 16, 8.40am – 5.20pm
Sydney: 338 Pitt Street (anyone in the lobby or the lifts of this building) – Monday June 21, 8.30am – 5.30pm
Potts Point: Coles Kings Cross – Monday June 21, 8pm – 9pm
Denham Cour: Coles Willowdale – Sunday June 20 between 4.45pm and 5pm and also on Monday between 5pm and 5.05pm.
Bondi North: Ampol service station, Old South Head Road – Tuesday June 22 between 8.00am and 8.10am
Paddington: Christo’s Pizzeria – Monday 21 June at 5.55pm – 8.30pm
Double Bay: Joh Bailey hairdresser -Thursday 17 June at 8am – 5pm, Friday 18 June at 8am – 5pm, Saturday 19 June at 8am – 5pm
Double Bay: Matteo Restaurant, Friday 18 June at 5.30pm – 7pm
Bondi: The Royal Bondi – Saturday June 19, 5pm – 6.30pm
Spring Farm: Woolworths – Sunday June 20, 9.30am – 10am
Mascot: Wallabies Thai Restaurant – Saturday June 19, 11.30am – 12pm (anyone who dined inside)
Bondi Junction: Starbucks – Friday June 18, 11am – 12pm
Sydney: ANZ Martin Place – Thursday June 17, 11.45am – 3.15pm (anyone on ground and level 1)
Mascot Central Shopping Precinct – Anytime between Friday June 18 and Tuesday June 22
Anyone who attended the following stories at the listed times should monitor for symptoms, and if they appear, isolate and get tested until a negative result is received
Meadowbank: TAFE NSW Meadowbank Campus (anywhere but Building J) – Monday June 16, 8.40am – 5.20pm
Petersham: Transport NSW Training Centre – Monday June 21, 4pm – 4.10pm
Anyone who travelled on the following bus and train routes at the times listed is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received
Bus 333: From Oxford Street after Newland Street to St Matthis Anglican Church, Oxford Street – Tuesday June 22, 1.07pm – 1.12pm
Train line from Bondi Junction to Mascot – Friday June 18, 6.55pm – 7.22pm
Train line from Mascot to Central – Saturday June 19, 5.26pm – 5.35pm
Train line from Central to Glenfield – Saturday June 19, 5.53pm – 6.38pm