NSW flags further COVID-19 restrictions with risk of contagion ‘extremely high’
Ms Berejiklian also flagged minor changes to gatherings in NSW “to ensure additional safety” were likely and would be announced on Thursday.
ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys conceded the NRL could again be forced to prevent fans from entering grandstands, after the state government allowed stadiums to operate at 25 per cent capacity from July 1.
“You have to be ready for every scenario and we’re ready for every scenario. But at the moment, the data doesn’t indicate any requirement for a rollback,” Mr V’landys said.
Ms Berejiklian said NSW residents living along the Victorian border should not travel further north into other parts of the state. Police had processed more than 50,000 permits since the Victorian-NSW border closed at midnight on Tuesday but tougher border controls were now likely.
“Whilst we have allowed these permits, whilst we have allowed a degree of flexibility, do not assume this will continue,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“If we find that the bubble we have created on the border doesn’t work and we feel it’s too high-risk, we will definitely need to take further action.”
Victoria announced another 134 new cases on Wednesday, with 11 cases linked to known clusters, and the sources of the other 123 are under investigation. Forty-one people are in Victorian hospitals including seven patients in intensive care units.
The ACT recorded its first coronavirus cases in over a month on Wednesday when three members from the same household tested positive to COVID-19. The cases have been linked to a Victorian outbreak.
Ms Berejiklian said the government was considering making hotel quarantine mandatory for NSW residents who did not return home from Victoria in a timely fashion. Those residents would also be made to pay for their hotel stay.
“We understand that, due to financial hardship or other reasons, people have made arrangements to get back to their family or get back to their place of work. We understand that. But that tolerance pretty much finishes once there’s been sufficient time for people to make those adjustments,” she said.
NSW Health authorities spent Wednesday tracking down 48 passengers who travelled on Jetstar flight JQ520 to Sydney from Melbourne on Tuesday evening. NSW Health said Jetstar had breached agreed protocols in allowing passengers to disembark and leave the airport without undergoing the proper health screening.
“As a result of this breach, flights will now not be allowed to land in NSW until NSW Health teams are in place to screen them,” NSW Health said.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said there were eight new COVID cases identified in NSW on Wednesday, seven of whom were returned travellers. The eighth case was a woman in her 30s in south-west Sydney.
Dr Chant said the woman may have unknowingly exposed healthcare workers at Liverpool Hospital to the virus, and several hospital staff members were now self-isolating for the next 14 days.
NSW Health is investigating whether the woman could have been infectious when she presented at the hospital or whether her test picked up traces of the virus from a historical infection.
A Victorian teenager and his family are also self-isolating in Merimbula, on the NSW South Coast, after the boy was informed by Victorian health authorities that a negative coronavirus test he received was, in fact, incorrect.
“The child and his family were not from a hotspot in Melbourne,” Dr Chant said.
She said the only contact the family had since arriving in NSW on July 4 was visiting the Tathra Hotel. The hotel had kept a list of the 80 patrons present at the time of the child’s visit and they were being contacted.
The Premier on Wednesday also renewed a warning to businesses that they must abide by public health orders or risk fines of up to $55,000.
“We will be stepping up compliance in relation to businesses across the state,” Ms Berejiklian said, noting that only 10 per cent of the state’s businesses had registered as “COVIDSafe”.
“[We are] concerned with the lack of compliance in NSW in some hospitality venues in particular cafes and restaurants, basic things like sharing a salt and pepper shaker.”
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Lisa Visentin is a state political reporter at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Kate Aubusson is Health Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.