A massive new testing push is underway in New South Wales after 17 new COVID-19 cases were identified in the 24 hours to Monday.
NSW Health has warned anyone in the suburbs of Harris Park and Middleton Grange to monitor for symptoms and get tested even if they have the mildest of symptoms.
The warning for the two suburbs, home to about 10,000 residents, follows a number of clusters of coronavirus being identified in Sydney’s southwest.
The Our Lady of Lebanon Co-Cathedral is located in Harris Park and has 11 cases of COVID-19 linked to the church.
The Crosssroads Hotel which was the centre of a cluster of more than 40 cases is located near the Middleton Grange area.
‘We are asking the communities, in particular, to come forward for testing in Harris Park and Middleton Grange,’ NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said on Monday.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the spike in new cases at the same press conference on Monday.
Seven of the positive tests have been linked to known clusters – four associated with funerals and three with the Thai Rock restaurant.
Another eight were returned travellers in hotel quarantine, while two cases remain under investigation with the source of the contagion unclear.
‘We are holding the line and doing okay, but are still on high alert,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘But we cannot let our guard down. That’s how the virus will take hold and spread.’
She urged residents to remain vigilant with social distancing to ensure we can ‘continue to have this level of freedom’.
There are now two cases linked to the Thai Rock Restaurant at Potts Point after a diner who visited the restaurant on July 17 tested positive last week.
A staff member has now also become a confirmed case and investigations to date have not identified links between cases at the two restaurants.
The staff member is not included in the three cases linked to Thai Rock Wetherill Park on Monday.
NSW Health directed anyone who attended the Potts Point restaurant for more than two hours between July 15 and July 25 to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days since they were last there, regardless of symptoms.
A couple who tested positive for COVID-19 following the Bankstown funeral gathering attended Tan Viet Noodle House in Cabramatta, which is also known as Crispy Chicken Noodle House, between 1pm and 2pm on July 22 and a restaurant in Bankstown between 9am and 11am on July 23.
Anyone who attended these venues is asked to watch for symptoms and get tested if symptoms appear.
Another case linked to the funeral cluster is a student at Georges River Grammar School in Georges Hall in Sydney’s south-west.
The school has been closed for deep cleaning with anyone in contact with the student told to self-isolate.
NSW chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant told reporters on Monday there were 101 COVID-19 cases being treated by NSW Health.
Five people are in intensive care, with 90 per cent of cases in out-of-hospital care.
Dr Chant also urge anyone in the Harris Park and Middleton Grange areas to monitor for symptoms and get tested even if they have the mildest of symptoms.
Ms Berejiklian implored the public to not take part in the Black Lives Matter protests planned for Tuesday.
‘A pandemic isn’t the time to do this… please use your energy in a different way,’ she told reporters on Monday.
As the cases in Sydney continue to grow, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is threatening to ‘slam the border shut’ and ban all New South Wales residents from entering the state.
‘If there are outbreaks of community transmission or it cannot be sourced or there are clusters, we will not hesitate to declare hotspots or we will not hesitate – if it gets out of control – to slam the border shut,’ she told reporters on Monday.
Liverpool and Campbelltown in NSW are also declared hotspots, as is the entire state of Victoria.
Current travel restrictions will prevent more than 600,000 Sydney residents from entering the Sunshine State.
Ms Palaszczuk said any decisions on further hotspots or border closures will be made on the advice of Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young.
‘That advice has stood Queensland in a very good position,’ the premier said.
‘Every single day we are monitoring the situation in NSW.’
Queensland recorded no new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours and there are just five active cases in the state.
It follows the winding back of some freedoms in Queensland restaurants, pubs and clubs.
All patrons will have to be seated when drinking or eating, the CHO announced on Friday, blindsiding the hospitality industry.