New South Wales has reported one new locally acquired Covid-19 case linked to a western Sydney cluster.
State premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Saturday the new locally acquired case was linked to Berala, bringing the total up to 21.
Five cases were also reported in returned travellers.
The new cases come as Sydney’s northern beaches prepares to head out of hard lockdown on Sunday.
The suburbs north of Narrabeen Bridge, known as the Northern Zone, have been under stay-at-home orders since before Christmas.
They have not been allowed to leave the zone and have only been allowed to leave their homes for essential shopping, healthcare reasons or exercise.
‘I wanted to especially thank the Northern Beaches community, especially those in the northern zone for their absolute patience during the necessary action we took to lock down or at least have stay-at-home provisions for the northern zone,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
The new cases come after the state imposed stay-at-home orders for any residents who had returned from Greater Brisbane (pictured, shoppers at Westfield Bondi)
The NSW government put in place a new Public Health Order requiring anyone in NSW who had been in Greater Brisbane since 12:01am on January 2 to follow the same lockdown rules
Residents south of the Narrabeen Bridge, known as the Southern Zone, left their hard lockdown on January 2.
Health authorities carried out 25,646 test to 8pm on Thursday.
As the northern beaches prepares to leave lockdown the state has imposed stay-at-home orders for any residents who have returned from Greater Brisbane.
Earlier on Friday, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Greater Brisbane would enter into a rapid three-day lockdown after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel was diagnosed with the highly-contagious UK strain of COVID-19.
The NSW government put in place a new Public Health Order requiring anyone in NSW who had been in Greater Brisbane since 12:01am on January 2 to follow the same lockdown rules.
Travellers from the area will only be able to leave their house or accommodation for five reasons until 6pm on Monday – to obtain food or essential shopping, exercise, work if they cannot do so from home, undertake caring duties or seek medical care.
People who have arrived in NSW after transiting through Brisbane Airport will not be subject to the requirements.
‘We have to assume that this strain will become the dominant strain and it is important to keep re-assessing our settings, keep staying vigilant and for the immediate future keep wearing our masks in those indoor settings,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said it was inevitable Australia would have to deal with different strains of the virus.
‘We are seeing the emergence worldwide of a number of strains, and with travel, they are no longer the UK strain or the South African strain,’ she said.
People who attended a number of venues in Burwood on January 6 and 7 have been advised to get tested for Covid according to NSW Health
Sydney venues exposed to Covid
January 6, 2021 – Burwood’s Artisaint Café (10.30am-11am), Bing Lee (11.25am-11.40am), Westfield Shopping Centre (11.45am-1.30pm), Kmart (11.45am-12.15pm), House (12.20pm-12.30pm) and Coles (12.40pm-1.20pm)
January 7, 2021 – Burwood Westfield Shopping Centre (1pm-2pm), Coles (1.20pm-1.55pm) and the Artisaint Cafe (1.10pm – 1.20pm)
December 31, 2020 – Costume, at Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, between 2pm and 2.15pm
Source: NSW Health
‘It is important that we live in a global world and so all returning travellers are at increasing risk of having one of these mutations which need to be investigated.
‘But some of the mutations are associated with increased trance missability, and obviously we need to be vigilant for other impacts of the viruses as they change.’
Health minister Brad Hazzard added all staff at hotel quarantine would be tested daily as authorities tried to stay on top of the different strains of the virus.
He also said NSW would not follow Western Australia and Victoria in closing thier borders to Greater Brisbane.
‘We’ve said this to you at least 20 or 30 times now that New South Wales will always take the view that keeping our borders open is a priority because it means the economy and, most importantly jobs and mental health,’ he said.
‘I think we’ve led the way on that. We are not about to change that unless we get advice from Dr Chant and her public health team.’
Queensland’s case on Friday prompted Prime Minister Scott Morrison to reduce the number of international arrivals into NSW, WA and Queensland’s hotel quarantine systems by 50 per cent.
Bing Lee in Burwood (pictured above) has been named as another venue by NSW Health visited by an infected shopper
A weekly cap in NSW has been set at 1505 people until at least February 15.
He also announced that overseas travellers would need to test negative to COVID-19 before departing for Australia, and daily coronavirus testing was now required for quarantine workers.
‘This virus continues to write its own rules, and that means that we must continue to be adaptable in how we continue to fight it,’ Mr Morrison said on Friday.
As well as four local COVID-19 cases, NSW also recorded seven cases in returned travellers from more than 26,000 tests in the 24-hour period to Thursday at 8pm.
Acting Premier John Barilaro said that testing number is on the ‘low side’.
Healthcare workers carry out Covid-19 tests at a Merrylands clinic in western Sydney
One reported case is linked to the Croydon cluster in Sydney’s inner west and two are linked to the Berala cluster. All three are close contacts of previously-reported cases and were in isolation.
In total there are 11 people in the Croydon cluster and 21 in the Berala cluster.
Mr Barilaro said NSW authorities were working with their counterparts in Queensland but the state was not considering a hard border.
‘At no point during this pandemic have we ever had a kneejerk reaction or treated the border like a light switch,’ he told reporters.
A number of $200 fines have been issued in NSW to people not wearing masks including a 41-year-old man in Campbelltown who told police ‘it’s a joke’.
A 28-year-old female director of the Pyrmont establishment which hosted a controversial wedding – for a bride from the northern beaches – was also fined $5,000 after breaching a number of health orders.
The wedding has prompted 22 fines in total.
Coles at Burwood (pictured above) was one of the many venues exposed to Covid this week by an infected shopper
The unsourced northern beaches case has prompted new health alerts at Woolworths in Avalon at certain times between January 2 and January 6 and a Chemist Warehouse for 15 minutes to 1.15pm in Avalon on January 3.
Anyone who attended those venues at the times listed must immediately get tested and self-isolate until a negative result is received.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the man did not present symptoms until after he completed quarantine, at which point he sought re-testing.
Elsewhere, the Service NSW app, which hosts a mandatory check-in system for hospitality venues, stopped working for several hours on Thursday afternoon.
It has been compulsory to use the app in some businesses since the start of 2021.
The second day of the Australia-India Test is also being played at the SCG on Friday, with attendees forced to wear masks except when eating or drinking.