New South Wales has recorded two new cases of Covid-19 overnight as the number of sites exposed to the virus across the state ballooned to 35.
Health officials in NSW confirmed the community infections along with five cases in hotel quarantine detected in the past 24 hours.
Four new cases were earlier announced in Sydney on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections in the city to 13 as dozens of businesses from Parramatta to Bondi were added to the growing list of exposure sites.
An emergency national cabinet meeting has meanwhile been called for Monday morning to address the vaccine rollout, which has been plagued by delays.
Greater vaccination rates are hoped to curb any further outbreaks across the nation, stopping them from ballooning to unmanageable levels or causing snap lockdowns.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian also tightened restrictions in NSW as she enforced mask use on public transport and inside public spaces in Randwick, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West, City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra.
She said the ‘next few days are critical’ and urged residents ‘not to be complacent’.
‘If cases continue to emerge, we will need to go further,’ the Premier said.
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham was forced to defend the vaccine rollout on Monday morning after it was labelled a ‘shambles’ by the Victorian government.
Queensland recorded no new cases a day after a flight attendant tested positive in Brisbane.
National Cabinet are meeting for an emergency discussion about getting more Covid vaccines, as masks once again become mandatory indoors in areas of Sydney (pictured, tram users in the city’s CBD on Friday)
‘I don’t accept all of that,’ Mr Birmingham said when asked by breakfast host Karl Stefanovic if he agreed with that assessment of the bungled program.
The senator said 2.3million doses of the Pfizer vaccine were being administered in June alone, while another 3.4million vials would arrive in Australia for processing next month.
Mr Birmingham blamed issues out of the government’s control for the delays, including safety issues with the AstraZeneca vaccine and supply disruption in Europe.
‘There have just been things that have hit along the way. We’ve had to respond and pivot as best we can,’ he told the Today show.
Pfizer is now the preferred jab for anyone under the age of 50, as AstraZeneca is feared to heighten the risk of blood clots in younger age groups (pictured, a nurse receives the Pfizer jab in Adelaide)
‘Obviously there have been disruptions – disruptions we wish had never occurred. It would be far preferable if the AstraZeneca vaccine had been able to be administered to all Australians.’
The federal government on Thursday was advised to only give AstraZeneca doses to over-60s after seven people in their 50s developed rare blood clots due to the jab in the space of a week.
A public health expert said New South Wales was paying the price because the airport worker who sparked the outbreak may not have been vaccinated.
The limousine driver – whose role involved transporting international flight crews – tested positive last week and authorities are now investigating whether he had been immunised against Covid-19.
‘The driver was not wearing the best possible PPE and doesn’t seem to have been vaccinated,’ University of NSW strategic health policy consultant Bill Bowtell told The Sunday Project.
‘That’s how it got out into the community.
‘The cost of getting that [vaccinations and protective equipment] right at Sydney is trivial compared to the costs the community is now incurring because we’re having to go through this progressive expansion of masking and lockdowns.’
Fitness First Pitt Street in Sydney’s CBD is among the city’s new locations exposed to Covid-19
Pictured: Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet in Drummoyne where a person infected with Covid visited 19 stores – plunging hundreds into isolation
Brisbane is also on alert after an international air crew member tested positive for the virus on Saturday, after spending 14 days in hotel quarantine, and having travelled into the CBD while potentially infectious.
Anyone who was in Brisbane Airport between 4pm and 4.30pm on Saturday June 19 must get tested and isolate until they receive further instructions, and the same goes for anyone who was at the Brisbane Portuguese Family Centre from 7pm on the same day.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the flight attendant had been in the community in Brisbane’s CBD, but only for a short time.
Victoria recorded no new cases on Sunday, but state Health Minister Martin Foley said his government would raise concerns about the vaccine shortage in the emergency meeting on Monday.
Pictured: Coles supermarket in Wynyard, where a person infected with Covid went on June 17, has also been added to the exposure list
Medical workers administer tests at the Bondi Beach drive-through Covid-19 testing centre on Friday
He said he would urge the Commonwealth to treat the vaccine rollout as a ‘race’.
Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said the Commonwealth’s vaccine rollout was an ‘absolute shambles’.
‘We do not have the supply of second doses from the Commonwealth to match the demand for first doses,’ he told reporters in Melbourne.
Western Australia Health Minister Roger Cook is equally frustrated by supply limitations.
‘But we’re working with what we’ve got and WA has been very successful. We have vaccinated a higher proportion of our population than any mainland state,’ he told reporters in Perth.
The shortage is a result of the rare blood clotting disorder associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine – meaning Australia needs more Pfizer jabs.
Pfizer has an agreement to supply 40 million vaccines to Australia in 2021, with two jabs needed to fully vaccinate one person.
Trials are also expected to begin by the end of this year into making Australia’s first locally developed vaccine, which would use the same mRNA technology as Moderna and Pfizer – both highly successful jabs.
Businesses on Sydney’s burgeoning exposure site list includes 19 retailers in the busy Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet in Drummoyne in the city’s west.
Hero Suchi restaurant in the CBD was also added, along with a fitness centre in Castle Hill in the north-west, and a Big W store in Merrylands.
Anyone who visited North Face, Country Road or Seed at the Drummoyne outlet centre on Tuesday June 15 between 11.35am and 1pm is considered a close contact.
Close contacts have been told to contact NSW Health immediately, get a Covid test and isolate for 14 days regardless of the results, with experts fearing people may test negative in the early stages of the virus.
Shoppers who has visited any of the other venues on the list are considered casual contacts and must self-isolate until they test negative to coronavirus.
The Bondi cluster has swelled to nine cases with four more in NSW without known sources (pictured, the drive-through testing clinic in Bondi)
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced masks would be required to be worn at most indoor venues across seven local government areas from 4pm on Sunday.
They are Randwick, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West, City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra.
‘You must wear a mask if you are in and around those seven local government areas,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘That will include things like hospitality workers, shopping, retail shopping, any interactivity where you aren’t eating or drinking, you will need to wear a mask.’
On Sunday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) announced masks would be required to be worn across seven local government areas
Ms Berejiklian also announced face mask rules on public transport would be extended from Sydney to Wollongong and Shellharbour.
‘It is important for all of us to be on high alert, no matter where we live in particular,’ she said.
But the premier stopped short of bringing in any lockdown rules, saying it was not likely further restrictions would have to be brought in for the time being.
Face masks mandate in Sydney
New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Sunday that face masks would need to be worn in seven local government areas in Sydney.
Below is a list of council areas where the mandate applies:
City of Sydney
‘At this stage, we don’t think we will need to do further than what we have announced today,’ she said.
‘I know all of us are a bit fatigued after so many months of living with Covid but we can’t drop for now.’
‘We have to make sure we aren’t complacent and have to make sure we are complying to what we are asking you to do.’
One of the new cases announced on Sunday was a 30-year-old man who visited Bondi, Surry Hills, Westfield Bondi Junction, and The Broken Drum Cafe in Fairy Meadow in the NSW Illawarra region.
The other case was a woman in her 30s who was a household contact of the man.
Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said an additional two cases in the Sutherland Shire, in southern Sydney, were also recorded.
One was a woman in her 50s who was a close contact of a previously confirmed case while the other was a man in his 50s linked to a Salvation Army store.
The cases will be officially included in Monday’s figures.
There were 24,468 tests conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday but Dr Chant said she would like to see more than 30,000 tests conducted on Sunday.
‘I would like to see those numbers today exceed 30-40,000 tests,’ she said.
‘The quicker we can diagnose cases, the quicker we can get ahead of the transmission of this virus.’
Dr Chant put out another call for residents to get tested if they visited Westfield Bondi Junction, and its car park, on June 12 or 13, with every customer – regardless of time or specific store – told to test and isolate if they feel even the slightest bit unwell.
People line up outside a COVID vaccination centre in West Melbourne, Monday, May 31. It is feared that Australia’s supply of AstraZeneca could go unused with an increasing number of people recommended to get the Pfizer jab
‘If you have been to any of those venues or have any symptoms, you need to isolate,’ she said.
Covid-19 fragments have also been detected in sewerage from the Brookland catchment- which serves parts of the Central Coast.
‘We are calling for the community to come forward for testing,’ Dr Chant said.
‘At this stage, we have not been able to identify positive cases in the catchment. We don’t have a full ability because people move around.
‘But we have not had anyone residing there that has been recently discharged from our hotel quarantine.’
NEW SYDNEY COVID EXPOSURE VENUES ADDED ON SUNDAY:
Anyone who attended the following venues at the listed times must call NSW Health on 1800 943 553, get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of test results.
Drummoyne, North Face at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.35am – 11.50am
Drummoyne, Country Road at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 12.30pm – 1.15pm
Drummoyne, Seed at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 12.30pm – 1pm
Barangaroo, California Nails – Wednesday June 16, 4.45pm – 5.30pm
Anyone who attended the following venue at the time listed must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days from the date they were at the venue until a negative test result is received.
Castle Hill, Fitness and Aquatic Centre – Saturday June 12, 8.30am – 9.40am
Merrylands, Big W at Stocklands – Monday June 14, 1.50pm – 2.45pm
Merrylands, Oporto at the food court in Stocklands – Monday June 14, 2.40pm – 3pm
Drummoyne, Estro at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 10.15am – 10.40am
Drummoyne, Christensen Copenhagen at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 10.30am – 11am
Drummoyne, Maje at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 10.45am – 11am
Drummoyne, ASICS at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.20am – 11.40am
Sydney, Hero Sushi at 52 Goulburn Street – Tuesday June 15, 2.30pm – 2.40pm
Drummoyne, Top Juice at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.15am – 11.20am
Drummoyne, Bed Bath n Table at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.30am – 11.40am
Drummoyne, Icebreaker at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.40am – 11.45am
Drummoyne, Adairs at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.45am – 11.55am
Drummoyne, Aldi at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 12.35pm – 12.45pm
Drummoyne, Priceline at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 12.40pm – 12.50pm
Hurstville, Coles at Hurstville Westfield – Saturday June 19, 6.10pm – 6.30pm
Anyone who has visited the following stores within the listed times should monitor for symptoms. If they appear, isolate until a negative test result is received.
Parramatta, De Salt Cafe – Wednesday June 9, 9.15am – 9.20am. Friday June 11, 9.15am – 9.20am. Wednesday June 16, 10am – 10.05am
Parramatta, Piccolo Me – Thursday June 10, 9.15am – 9.20am
Parramatta, Oriental Tucker Box – Friday June 11, 1pm – 1.30pm. Wednesday June 16, 1pm – 1.35pm
Castle Hill, Sydney Hills Gymnastics – Friday June 11, 4pm – 4.15pm
Baulkham Hills, IGA – Saturday June 12, 10am – 10.15am
Sydney, The Gardens Cafe – Tuesday June 15, 9.30am – 9.35am
Drummoyne, Adventure Megastore at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.40am – 12.30pm
Drummoyne, Kathmandu at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.40am – 12.30pm
Drummoyne, Mac Pac at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11.40am – 12.30pm
Drummoyne, Papaya at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 12.30pm – 12.45pm
Drummoyne, food court and female toilets at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 11am – 1.30am
Drummoyne, Chemist Warehouse at the Birkenhead Point Brand Outlet – Tuesday June 15, 1.15pm – 1.25pm
Sydney, Kingswood Coffee – Tuesday June 15, 4.30pm – 4.45pm
Potts Point, Harris Farm Markets – Wednesday June 16, 6pm – 6.45pm
Sydney, MLC food court – Thursday June 17, 9.50am – 10.20am
Sydney, Coles Wynyard – Thursday June 17, 4.20pm – 4.50pm
SEE THE FULL LIST OF VENUES HERE
Source: NSW Health