NSW records one new local virus case

By | January 9, 2021

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged resident to remain on alert as the state recorded one new local case of coronavirus.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday after returning from a week of leave, Gladys Berejiklian said the case came after 25,646 tests.

It is linked to the Berala cluster and is a close contact of a previously reported case.

It takes the Berala cluster to 21 cases.

The state has also recorded five cases in returning international travellers in hotel quarantine.

It comes as the upper section of the northern beaches is due to finish its three-week lockdown after residents could only leave home for essential reasons.

“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 lockdown or at least have stay-at-home provisions for the northern zone,” the Premier said.

“For the northern zone, today will be the last day you are required for those provisions.”

The Premier said the northern beaches, and Greater Sydney, had to on high alert while there was the risk of community transmission.

“We have to assume these restrictions, or some sense of restriction, will be in place for the foreseeable future,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“But we have to all of us be on high alert. We are confident enough to obviously lift the restrictions in the northern zone of the northern beaches.

“But can we guarantee that there aren’t remnants of community transmission? We can’t. The fear always is that there are undetected people who may not have known they had the virus, who may have passed it on unintentionally – that risk is always there.”

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The Federal government on Friday announced that over the next month, the number of returned travellers will be halved in a bid to stop highly contagious strains of the virus leaking out of hotel quarantine.

NSW’s returned traveller intake will be capped at 1505 a week.

“The pause we’ve taken for a month in relation to overseas travellers, gives us more time to learn what the virus is doing … I think the next few weeks will be really important in that process,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“I’m very much relieved that the pressure on our health people, the police, anybody working in the hotel quarantine system for a month, to help us determine and change the settings.”

The one positive local infection comes after the state recorded four new cases on Friday, with one each linked to the Berala, Croydon and Avalon clusters and another case still under investigation.

NSW Health has also issued health alerts for a number of venues in Burwood on Friday night, including a cafe and Bing Lee store.

COVID-19 has also been detected in a sewage treatment plant at Northmead with residents in the area asked to remain vigilant for any symptoms.

The treatment plant’s catchment area includes Merrylands West, Greystanes, South Wentworthville, Merrylands, Westmead, Wentworthville, Pendle Hill, Northmead, North Rocks, Parramatta and Constitution Hill.

The NSW government has refused to ring-in mandatory masks rules for outdoor areas to bring it in line with Queensland.

Queensland has imposed the strict measures for Greater Brisbane along with a three-day lockdown to help quell an outbreak of a contagious UK strain of the virus.

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NSW earlier this week made masks mandatory in most indoor areas however Health Minister Brad Hazzard said they weren’t looking to change rules for outdoor settings.

“The advice remains that is the safest place is outside, and we do not require people mandatorily to wear masks outside in the fresh air,” Mr Hazzard said.

“But of course if you want to, it adds another layer of possible safety, but it certainly is not what we think is proportionately a requirement.”

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