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‘Do not travel to Sydney’: Stern warning issued over coronavirus outbreak

A stern warning has been issued against travelling to Sydney as the city’s coronavirus numbers continue to creep up. 

Newcastle residents were told by local health authorities to rethink their travel plans after New South Wales recorded 16 new cases on Wednesday. 

Of the new infections, 11 are associated with the Thai Rock cluster in Sydney’s Wetherill Park, taking the total number of cases linked to the restaurant to 37. 

Public Health Physician Professor David Durrheim said the Sydney outbreaks were ‘concerning’ and that non-residents should stay away.

There is usually a lot of travel between the two east coast cities, sitting just 170km apart. 

‘We would strongly advise anybody from the Hunter New England region to rather stay at home than visiting Sydney at this stage unless absolutely necessary.

‘This virus, if you give it half a chance, can spread very very rapidly and even from the a-symptomatic,’ he said.

The 16 cases announced on Wednesday mark seven consecutive days of double-digit daily infections in NSW.

While not yet re-imposing travel bans to regional areas in NSW, Premier Gladys Berejikilan said people should take ‘extra caution’ when moving around the state.   

‘There is no zone which is safe,’ she said.

‘My strongest message is, that all of us are on high alert. 

‘All of us should be monitoring our behaviour. All of us should consider where we travel. All of us should consider avoiding crowds and those high-risk activities, especially over the weekend.’

The recent community transmission in the state have been traced back to Victoria, where figures have skyrocketed to a record-breaking 484 cases on Wednesday.

New figures showed 90 per cent of patients failed to isolate between falling sick and getting tested and 53 per cent had failed to self-isolate while waiting for the result. 

The state has suffered outbreaks at abattoirs, aged care homes, logistics businesses and law firms. 

Chief Health Officer Professor Brendan Sutton said Victoria is considering introducing a draconian stage four lockdown.

In New Zealand, stage four lockdown saw butchers, bakers, fruit shops, hairdressers and even construction shut down. Businesses such as Bunnings and Kmart closed, and even takeaway food was banned. 

Asked if such harsh restrictions were on the table for Melbourne, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said: ‘Everything is under consideration.’  

But he said a New-Zealand style lockdown may cause terrible economic damage and may not even help bring cases down. 

‘To go to a particular model of lockdown that worked for one country at one point in time is not the solution,’ he said. 

‘We have to understand what the dynamics of transmission are in Victoria at this point in time. It may well be that it’s an awful impost on the economy and on people’s lives with no material benefit.’ 

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