Sydneysiders are advised to wear masks in public and avoid public transport, ‘non-essential’ gatherings, pubs, and restaurants.
NSW detected 18 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, including four where the origin of the infection is unknown, sparking fears of a wider outbreak.
Health officials desperately want to prevent the outbreak from blowing out into the crisis enveloping Victoria, which has 363 new cases with no end in sight.
Sydneysiders are advised to wear masks in public and avoid public transport, ‘non-essential’ gatherings, pubs, and restaurants. Pictured is a woman wearing a mask in Melbourne
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance urged commuters to work from home when they could, and to avoid public transport where possible
Victorians were ordered to wear face masks from Wednesday and NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Jeremy McAnulty followed that lead with new advice.
‘Consider the use of masks in situations where you are unable to social distance,’ he said on Sunday afternoon.
Mask wearing will be compulsory in Melbourne, punishable by a $200 fine, but NSW is only advising their voluntary use when people can’t keep 1.5m apart.
Dr McAnulty also advised people to voluntarily go back in to some form of lockdown as more venues were affected by positive cases.
‘People are urged to avoid non-essential travel and gatherings. Of particular concern is transmission in venues such as hotels and restaurants, the gym and social gatherings,’ he said.
‘Don’t go to the gym unless it is thoroughly cleaned before and after customers by supervising staff or yourself and there is good spacing between machines and customers.’
Victorian Premier Mark Andrews (pictured) said mask wearing will be compulsory in Melbourne, punishable by a $200 fine
NSW recorded 18 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, four of which officials have no idea how they originated (someone being tested at the Crossroads Hotel testing centre)
Dr McAnulty also said not to host or attend gatherings of more than 10 people, even though the current limit in NSW is 20.
‘It is critical that anyone feeling unwell – even with the mildest of symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat – seeks testing and self-isolates until they get the result.
‘Stay at home, and do not go to work or catch public transport until you are cleared of COVID-19.’
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance urged commuters to work from home when they could, and to avoid public transport where possible.
‘We want everyone to consider their travel options for getting to and from school, work places and other activities, including walking and cycling where possible,’ he said.
Officials said three cases – two in Sydney’s south and one the southwest – have not been linked to any known clusters.
One of the cases is still currently being investigated by contact tracers.
One of new locally acquired cases attended Holy Duck! restaurant in Chippendale (pictured) on the evening of July 10
Another new case visited the Anytime Fitness Gym in Merrylands (pictured) on 14 July from 9pm to 10:30 pm
The Crossroads Hotel cluster is now 45 cases, and one of new locally-acquired cases attended Holy Duck! restaurant in Chippendale.
The restaurant has closed for cleaning after the person dined there between 7.15pm and 9.30pm on July 10.
Anyone who was there during that time is ordered to self-isolate for 14 days (until July 24) and get tested as soon as possible.
The restaurant was closed last night and is being cleaned and all close contacts are being identified.
Another infected person visited the Anytime Fitness Gym in Merrylands on July 14 from 9pm to 10.30 pm.
NSW Health advised anyone who may have gone to those venues on the same day to self-isolate for up to two weeks and get tested if any symptoms occur.
The total number of cases associated with the Crossroads Hotel cluster is 45 (Pictured: NSW Health worker administering tests outside the pub)
Tests are carried out at a pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic at Victoria Park in Picton on July 14
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 11,784
New South Wales: 3,568
Western Australia: 651
South Australia: 444
Australian Capital Territory: 113
Northern Territory: 31
TOTAL CASES: 11,802
CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 2,931
Five of the new cases were travellers returned from overseas and are in hotel quarantine.
Another five cases are linked to the Thai Rock Restaurant at Wetherill Park in Sydney’s south-west and five were from hotel quarantine.
Two people were members of the same household that involved two cases reported on Saturday.
Authorities fear the spread of coronavirus is out of control as testing is being urgently increased to find the origins of mystery cases.
Of the 15 cases recorded on Saturday, five remained under investigation on Sunday.
These cases included a man and a teenager from the same house who visited a bistro at Batemans Bay and McDonald’s in Albion Park.
Coronavirus detectives are still trying to determine the origin of these cases, leading to fears the rate of community transmission could be on the rise.
‘They’re the ones that make us really concerned,’ Dr McAnulty said of the mystery cases.
‘Where we are unable to find links between cases that means we haven’t been able to lock down that cluster and there may be other people out there.’
Mask wearing will be compulsory in Melbourne, punishable by a $200 fine, but NSW is only advising their voluntary use when people can’t keep 1.5m apart (pictured: woman wears face mask outside pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic in Bondi)
People leave Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on Sunday while while wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus
The duo attended the bistro at the Soldiers Club in Batemans Bay on July 13 between 7 and 9.30pm and McDonald’s at Albion Park on July 15 between 2 and 2.30pm.
Dr McAnulty said health authorities are asking residents who were at the bistro over the same time period to immediately self-isolate for two weeks.
McDonald’s diners have also been advised to watch for symptoms.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said anyone who disobeys the new government directive – effective from 11.59pm on Wednesday – will face a $200 fine.
He said the mask did not necessarily need to be hospital-grade, and could be a home-made face covering like a scarf.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced the state’s state of emergency will be extended to August 16 as case numbers continue to rise.
Dr Jeremy McAnulty said residents who live on the NSW South Coast should be on high alert after two people who tested positive to COVID-19 visited a bistro and a McDonald’s restaurant. Pictured: Albion Park McDonald’s
Victoria’s number of cases spiked again on Sunday to 363 after a brief reprieve on Saturday with only 217 infections
Mr Andrews said there would be exceptions to the order in cases where it’s not practical or masks cannot be worn for professional reasons.
‘Those who have a medical reason, kids under 12 years of age, those who have a professional reason or if it’s just not practical, like when running [will be given an exemption],’ he said.
‘However you will still be expected to carry your face covering at all times to wear when you can.’
Mr Andrews stressed the stage three restrictions already in place would still apply and Melbourne residents could only leave the home for one of the four permitted reasons – for essential shopping, to provide care, for work or study or for exercise.
‘I just want to make a point about the fact that whilst a mask or a face covering will be of benefit, it doesn’t mean that we can be shaking hands again,’ he said.