After the discovery of a new coronavirus cluster in Sydney, officials in New South Wales (NSW) state on Tuesday named over 100 venues in the largest Australian city as potential Covid-19 hotspots, instructing anyone who visited them to self-isolate and get tested.
The Northern Beaches cluster grew to 90 confirmed cases, after eight more people tested positive on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.
Health alerts were issued for gyms, bars and cafes, primarily inside the original outbreak area, but also across Greater Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said despite the remaining risk she was happy to see the number of new cases drop into the single figures, compared with 15 the day before and 30 on Sunday.
“The threat is there because of the number of venues that have been affected (but) I think to date the policy settings we’ve had in place, coupled with the community’s response, have demonstrated our strategies are working,” she said.
Thousands of people were instructed to self isolate at home after attending affected venues, with close contacts told to isolate for 14 days regardless if they returned a negative test result.
“Even if you’ve had a negative test today you can be positive tomorrow, so it’s incredibly important that you remain in isolation,” NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.
Just three days away from Christmas, Berejiklian said that authorities were monitoring the “evolving” situation closely before deciding on Wednesday what restrictions will be in place for the city on December 25.
“Obviously the decision would be much easier if it wasn’t this time of year,” she said.
“We will try to consider mental health issues, we need to consider what people are going through as part of that decision as well but we also need to consider what it means for 8 million citizens across the state.”
The state of NSW currently accounts for 4,789 coronavirus cases and 53 deaths.
Australia has so far reported a total 28,198 cases and 908 fatalities.