The list of COVID-19 exposure sites for Sydney’s coronavirus cluster continues to grow as other states enforce new testing and border rules for travellers from NSW.
A 30-year-old man’s coronavirus infection will be included in local transmission numbers for NSW on Sunday, as it came to light after the Saturday reporting period.
NSW recorded two new locally acquired cases on Saturday – a woman in her 40s and a man in his 50s who both tested positive after visiting the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, bringing that cluster to six.
A limousine driver aged in his 60s who was transporting international flight crew is thought to be the source of the outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta strain, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Saturday.
The NSW government has warned testing levels are not high enough, with around 26,000 tests conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm Friday.
The latest venues added to the list of exposure sites include two gyms in Sydney’s CBD and two supermarkets in Bondi Junction’s Eastgate centre.
Labor health spokesman Mark Butler said on Sunday he was hopeful the Bondi cluster would be dealt with quickly but the situation highlighted the need to stay vigilant and get vaccinated.
“I think everyone’s concerned over the last four cases that have emerged over the last few days have been very fleeting contacts, so people have really not had any known contact with each other, they just happened to be at the same shopping centre in Bondi Junction,” Mr Butler told Sky News’ Sunday Agenda program.
South Australia on Sunday joined Queensland and imposed an immediate ban on travellers who have been in Sydney’s Waverley Council area. This hard border excludes South Australian residents or anyone escaping domestic violence but they will still need to self-quarantine for a fortnight.
The Western Australian government will set up COVID-19 testing clinics at Perth Airport’s domestic terminals from Sunday to enforce new conditions imposed on travellers from NSW. WA Premier Mark McGowan announced on Saturday “effective immediately” that all arrivals from NSW must get a test on arrival or within 48 hours and self-quarantine until they return a negative result.
Victoria recorded zero new locally acquired cases on Sunday and two cases detected in hotel quarantine from more than 19,500 tests.
There are 51 active cases in the state, including those who acquired their infection overseas.
Labor has repeated its claim the federal government relied too heavily on the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for Australia’s rollout.
Medical experts are now recommending people under 60 receive the Pfizer jab due to the extremely rare risk of blood clots for AstraZeneca recipients.
But people aged 50 to 59 who’ve already had a single AstraZeneca dose have been told to get their second jab of that vaccine.
Two deaths have occurred in Australia from 3.8 million AstraZeneca doses.
National cabinet will meet on Monday to discuss what the increased reliance on Pfizer imports means for the immunisation program.
Meanwhile, Australia is sending a medical team to Fiji to help combat the country’s latest COVID-19 outbreak.
The assistance comes in addition to 1.3 tonnes of PPE, medical supplies and testing equipment donated since the outbreak began in April, as well as $83 million of funding for COVID measures since the start of 2021.
Federal trade minister Dan Tehan said on Saturday he will fly to Singapore for more talks about a travel bubble. He told reporters it remains unclear what infection or vaccination levels would be needed to see the plan established.
By Gina Rushton