Baby among 13 new NSW virus cases

 

A baby is among four new coronavirus cases in Wagga Wagga with the child, its parents and grandmother believed to have contracted the virus in Melbourne.

The family, a 52-year-old woman, her son and daughter-in-law, who are both in their 20s, and the child, have been self -isolating aince returning from Victoria and are not believed to have infected anybody else with the virus.

These cases are in addition to 13 more from across NSW announced on Monday morning, as Premier Gladys Berejiklian called for residents to be on "extra high alert".

One new case announced on Monday cannot be linked to any known case, while eight were linked to other local cases.

Three others are overseas travellers in hotel quarantine and one had returned from Victoria.

Worryingly, NSW Health officials revealed there are seven cases of coronavirus diagnosed over the past week that still have no known source.

These cases have been in people from South Western Sydney, Western Sydney, South Eastern Sydney and Sydney Local Health District.

Speaking on Monday, Ms Berejiklian said everyone should be taking every precaution possible to ensure NSW did not experience a similar outbreak to Victoria.

"All of us need to be on extra high alert," she said. "The next few weeks are critical for New South Wales."

Health authorities are pleading with the people of NSW to mask up and reconsider non-essential activity to help the state avoid a deadly Victorian-style disaster.

New rules now "strongly recommend" mask wearing in crowded areas in response to the uncontained spread of COVID-19 south of the border.

From Monday masks should be worn on public transport, supermarkets, shops, churches and other places of worship. Hospitality staff and other workers who have regular contact with customers should also cover up.

While not mandatory, businesses will be able to enforce mask use as a condition of entry.

 

The government is recommending that people wear masks in most public places. Picture: Damian Shaw
The government is recommending that people wear masks in most public places. Picture: Damian Shaw

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would back retailers who refused to serve unmasked customers and said vulnerable people "should consider wearing a mask at all times" and anyone in a hotspot should limit their activities.

"Obviously the consistent situation in Victoria gives us cause for alarm," she said. "The next few weeks will make or break us in terms of the way we get through this pandemic."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday covered up before heading into the shops, saying wearing a mask "protects others you come into contact with in enclosed areas, in particular the retail salespeople just doing their jobs".

The Black family, including eight year old Felicity, wore masks to attend mass at St Mary's Catholic Church in North Sydney on Sunday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted an image of himself on social media wearing a mask. Picture: Instagram
Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted an image of himself on social media wearing a mask. Picture: Instagram

Mum Megan said she made the call for her family to mask up following the Premier's call.

"We really felt the absence of Sunday mass while we were in lockdown. If it's a case of coming to church but wearing a mask, we'll all wear masks, no problem," she said.

The tougher edict strengthens the government's earlier recommendation for covering up when social distancing can't be maintained.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said people should also avoid crowded public transport by working from home or asking for flexible working arrangements.

But state Labor said masks should be compulsory on public transport, and the "strong recommendation" for wearing a mask in crowded areas was confusing.

"We have health orders in NSW for a reason, they are there so the government can act decisively and keep people safe," opposition health spokesman Ryan Park said.

Young churchgoer Felicity Black (right) with her older brother Liam, attend St Mary's Church in North Sydney. Photo: Tim Pascoe
Young churchgoer Felicity Black (right) with her older brother Liam, attend St Mary's Church in North Sydney. Photo: Tim Pascoe

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt yesterday said mandatory mask use in NSW was not necessary because our state has "consistent low levels of community transmission" compared to the out of control outbreak in Victoria.

Mr Hunt also praised NSW's crack contact-tracing team for the "magnificent job" it was doing to contain the community spread.

Do-it-yourself cloth masks are acceptable for use in NSW, but government guidelines say masks should be made from three layers of fabric. They should be washed after each use, or at least daily.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant has asked people to avoid public transport. Picture: Damian Shaw
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant has asked people to avoid public transport. Picture: Damian Shaw

The mask recommendation was backed by infectious diseases expert Dr Peter Collignon who said wearing a face covering would make a difference as long as people remembered the fundamentals of keeping their distance and staying home when sick.

"Masks are probably more effective at protecting others than yourself," he said, adding that NSW is on a "knife edge" of further outbreaks.

A spate of mystery cases in Sydney has also concerned authorities. NSW Health said seven cases not linked to any known cluster had been identified in the past week. They involved people from the South Western, Western Sydney, South Eastern Sydney and Sydney local health districts.

VICTORIA TO COP TIGHTER LOCKDOWN

A state of disaster has been declared in Victoria as COVID tightens its grip, with 671 new cases and seven more deaths on Sunday.

As the state recorded its second-worst day on record, Premier Daniel Andrews announced stage four restrictions would come into effect for Melbourne from 6pm Sunday, including a police-­enforced curfew.

The 8pm-5am curfew will be imposed by police and soldiers and will continue for at least six weeks.

Premier Andrews said Victoria had 760 active COVID-19 infections where the source of the transmission was not known and the stringent restrictions were necessary to stop the spread.

Mr Andrews said the state could not afford a "static response" to something that was "wildly infectious and absolutely dynamic".

Residents will only be allowed to leave their home to buy goods or services, for medical care or compassionate reasons, to exercise, or for work or education if necessary.

Shopping for food and necessary supplies will only be allowed within a 5km radius from home, or at the nearest available supermarket, and it will be limited to one person per household, once per day.

Exercise will also be limited to within 5km of a resident's home, with only one other person and only once per day for a maximum of one hour.

Panic buying began yesterday in the wake of the tough new restrictions as supermarket chains moved to impose limits on some items.

Restaurants, cafes, bars and gyms will close from midnight on Wednesday and weddings have been banned. Rules for funerals remain unchanged, allowing 10 mourners plus those conducting the ceremony. School students in metro Melbourne will return to remote learning and childcare centres will close.

Regional Victoria will revert to stage three restrictions from midnight on Wednesday.

TWO NEW INFECTED VENUES DISCOVERED

NSW Health has issued an alert for patrons who visited two licensed premises in the Hunter region last week to get tested after a bew discovery of a confirmred case.

People who visited the Hotel Jesmond on 29 July between 7.30pm and 9.30pm or Wallsend Diggers on 30 July between 7.30pm and 9.30pm should be tested immediately.

 

Wallsend Diggers had a deep clean on Sunday night after NSW Health confirmed an infected COVID-19 case. Picture: Facebook
Wallsend Diggers had a deep clean on Sunday night after NSW Health confirmed an infected COVID-19 case. Picture: Facebook

 

The infected person visited Newcastle on July 29 and 30. Picture: Facebook
The infected person visited Newcastle on July 29 and 30. Picture: Facebook

"Get tested regardless of symptoms, but you must remain in isolation for the full 14

days even if your initial test is negative," NSW Health said.

"If you do develop COVID-19 symptoms, you should be retested."

This follows confirmation of a confirmed Sydney case who visited Newcastle on 29 and 30 July while infectious.

COVIDIOTS FINED OVER BREACHING SOCIAL DISTANCING

A second illegal snow resort party was busted by police at the weekend, with 27 people found inside a single room at a resort.

Police were called to a property on Kosciuszko Rd, East Jindabyne at 11pm on Saturday for a noise complaint when they found the illegal party in full swing.

Only eight of the partygoers were actually staying at the resort.

Seven men, aged 26, 29, 31, two aged 24 and two aged 27, and a 29-year-old woman were slapped with on the spot $1000 fines for the risky gathering, and the rest of the party was ordered to move on.

 

Police move on part of a large crowd who had gathered near the grassy knoll at North Bondi, apparently breaking social distancing rules. Picture: Damian Shaw
Police move on part of a large crowd who had gathered near the grassy knoll at North Bondi, apparently breaking social distancing rules. Picture: Damian Shaw

 

It comes after 100 revellers were fined for a bush-doof near Thredbo last month. Police said the organised event, which included a DJ, was in a national park near Jindabyne. Some at the party ran from police, escaping fines.

On Sunday police were pictured speaking to many among a large group that had gathered in North Bondi - including some playing music - not social distancing.

The night before two 16-year-old girls had to be taken to hospital after they were found unconscious on a Mosman beach. Police were told the girls had been attending an illegal beach party with up to 40 young people. In another incident, police fined a 29-year-old Maroubra man for hosting an illegal party in his unit.

ORGAN-IC NEW RESEARCH DONE TO FIND A CURE

Researchers are growing human organs in a lab to map the damage done by COVID-19 and find targeted treatments to combat the virus.

Amid growing evidence COVID-19 is impacting all areas of some victims' bodies, including their heart and brains, the team led by Murdoch Children's Research Institute are racing to uncover the long-term consequences.

The project, which also involves the Doherty Institute, Monash University, and the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, is one of seven backed under a $5.5 million COVID-19 Research Fund to be announced on Monday by the Victorian Government.

Officials say the early results are "promising", with the year-long program hoping to be much more accurate.

CHILDCARE CENTRE WORKERS TEST POSITIVE

A childcare centre in Sydney's west was closed on Sunday when two workers tested positive as NSW recorded 12 new infections.

The first case worked shifts at the Advanced Early Learning centre in Merrylands on July 27, 28 and 29, and a second worker was identified on Sunday morning.

Most concerning to health authorities is that the two cases have not been traced to a known cluster, and the source of infection remains unknown.

 

One new case is connected to the Mounties Club at Mount Pritchard. Picture: Matthew Vasilescu
One new case is connected to the Mounties Club at Mount Pritchard. Picture: Matthew Vasilescu

 

Two of Sunday's new cases were connected to the Mounties club at Mount Pritchard, three to the Apollo restaurant at Potts Point, five are contacts of known cases and one was a returned traveller.

NSW chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant urged anyone in Potts Point and greater Western Sydney to stay particularly vigilant.

Originally published as Wear a mask and avoid public transport: New government plea

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced stronger restrictions in Victoria. Picture: David Geraghty
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced stronger restrictions in Victoria. Picture: David Geraghty

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