New South Wales has recorded seven new COVID-19 cases overnight.
One has been linked to an overseas traveller while six were locally acquired transmissions.
Three were identified as close contacts who had visited the Chopstix Asian Cuisine restaurant at the Smithfield RSL, in western Sydney.
State premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday authorities were still concerned about community transmission in Sydney’s west.
‘My anxiety remains the same, if not slightly higher, because every week we have had an of undetected or unsourced cases.’
‘It means potentially the virus is continuing to spread in particular parts of south-western and Western Sydney.’
Ms Berejiklian said the trend was a chilling echo of how the second outbreak of COVID-19 spread in Melbourne.
‘If you look back to Melbourne, Melbourne didn’t get worse because of the number of cases they had, they had undetected community transmission which then unknowingly got to a stage where it did.’
Ms Berejiklian went on to ‘apologise unreservedly’ to residents who had contracted COVID-19 following the Ruby Princess cruise saga.
‘I want to say I can’t imagine what it would be like having a loved one or being someone yourself who continues to suffer and experience trauma as a result.’
The NSW government commissioned an inquiry into the Ruby Princess after its 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark from the cruise ship in Sydney before results for COVID-19 were received.
Bret Walker SC was tasked with examining the Ruby Princess’ departure, arrival and disembarkation and conducted 21 days’ of hearings from April to July.
He handed his report to Ms Berejiklian on Friday and it was immediately made public.
‘Can I now apologise unreservedly to anybody who suffered as a result of the mistakes that were outlined in the report undertaken by individuals within the Health Department or the Health Agency and I extend that apology unreservedly,’ Ms Berejiklian said on Monday.
‘In particular to the 62 people who got the virus in secondary or tertiary way.
‘Those 62 people who weren’t on the ship, but somehow contracted the virus as a consequence of that disembarkation.’
The new COVID-19 figures come after NSW recorded five coronavirus cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday.
Sydney Girls High School in Sydney’s inner-city suburb of Surry Hills will close on Monday for cleaning and contact tracing after a student tested positive to COVID-19.
A trial HSC exam scheduled for Monday has been postponed.
‘While the school site is non-operational, learning materials are available through the (Education) Department’s Learning from home website,’ the school said on its website.
It is not yet known when the school will reopen.
Sydney Girls High School is a selective state school that has about 940 high school students drawn from 143 different postcodes around Sydney, escalating its potential to spread the coronavirus city-wide.
Most students travel via public transport to the school, giving further opportunities to spread the infectious virus.
The NSW Department of Education said all staff and students have been asked to isolate themselves.
The NSW Health Department urged anyone with any symptoms to get tested for covid-19.
Tangara School for Girls, a Catholic girls school in Sydney’s northwestern suburb of Cherrybrook, has also been linked to 25 COVID-19 cases.
The school said on its website that it has been professionally deep cleaned but will remain closed until August 24.
Year 12 HSC trial exams were delayed at Tangara by one week.
From Wednesday all public schools in the state will be required to implement changes to ensure communities remain safe inside and outside the school gate, NSW Education Department said.
Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 is prohibited from returning to school until a negative test result has been reported.
Formals, dances, graduation ceremonies, choirs and all social events have been banned and students must remain within their relevant class or year groups.
Schools must not travel outside their local community or zone and interschool sport and zone carnivals are restricted to 100 people per venue and held locally.
Spectators, including parents and carers, won’t be allowed on school grounds or at sporting events held during school hours.
Schools may hold a Year 12 assembly at school without parents to recognise the completion of school or consider delaying events until later in the year.
However students and staff required to support HSC students are permitted to meet their HSC requirements with COVID-19 safety measures in place.
The largest NSW cluster comes from the Thai Rock restaurant at Wetherill Park in Sydney’s outer west, which has infected 116 people so far, according to NSW Health figures released on Sunday.
The next biggest cluster is 73 people infected following a funeral in Bankstown, in Sydney’s west.
Australia now has 22,851 infections most of which are in Victoria.
Worldwide coronavirus cases reached 21.6 million on Sunday evening with 769,207 deaths according to Worldometers statistics.
The USA is still the worst affected country with 5.5 million cases and 172,606 deaths, followed by Brazil with 3.3 million cases and 107,297 deaths.