NSW Effort to Stem Western Sydney Virus Spread

January 1, 2021 Updated: January 1, 2021

New South Wales (NSW) contact tracers are racing to contain coronavirus spread after three cases were recorded linked to western Sydney.

Two cases—a man in his 40s and a man in his 20s—are under investigation after 32,000 people came forward for testing in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Thursday.

The third case, a man in his 20s, is a close household contact of one of the other two men.

NSW Health expanded its list of exposure sites on Friday evening, saying anyone who visited BWS in Berala between Dec. 22 and 31 must get tested immediately and isolate.

Specific times of potential exposure on those dates can be found on the NSW Health website.

None of the three new cases are linked to the northern beaches hotspot which now totals 146 after two previously recorded infections were linked.

The state government is urging western Sydney residents from Greystanes, Auburn, Berala, and Lidcombe with even the mildest of symptoms to get tested.

NSW Health has also put out an exposure alert for shoppers who visited menswear store Culture Kings in Sydney between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 28.

Epoch Times Photo
The suburb of Croydon is the site of a number of new cases in Sydney’s latest COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, Australia Dec. 31, 2020. (Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

Anyone who was there during that window should get tested and self-isolate if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms.

Meanwhile, a mystery source that sparked the Croydon cluster and two cases in Wollongong has now been linked to the Avalon cluster, with the connection between the cases revealed by genetic testing.

Patrons who dined at the Swallowed Anchor restaurant in Wollongong on Dec. 19 have been urgently called after one case from Croydon and another from the local area both attended on that date.

“There may have been a transmission event at that venue,” NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

Victoria shut its border with NSW at midnight on Friday.

The state announced its decision on Thursday, prompting two days of disruption and upset plans as Victorians holidaying in NSW rushed to get home.

Other alerts for Eden and Bermagui on the NSW south coast come after two coronavirus cases travelled to NSW from Victoria on Dec. 30.

Anyone who visited the Great Southern Hotel in Eden that afternoon should get tested and isolate until further advice, as well as Bermi’s Beachside Cafe in Bermagui on the evening of Dec. 31.

New health alerts were also issued on Friday for Bunnings in Ashfield on Dec. 28, Woolworths at Strathfield Plaza on Dec. 20, Woolworths at Berala on Dec. 24, 26, 28, and Haberfield’s Clark Rubber on Dec. 28.

Stay-at-home orders applying to northern beaches residents north of the Narrabeen Bridge will continue until at least Jan. 9. A lockdown for the peninsula’s southern zone will be in place until Jan. 2.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the recent low numbers recorded in NSW were encouraging and he thanked the community for listening to health advice and coming forward for testing.

“COVID still hasn’t gone away, it hasn’t taken a holiday, it won’t be going anywhere, and as a result, we continue to deal with the very serious challenges,” he said.

On Friday evening the Tasmanian government announced NSW’s Wollongong Local Government Area would join Greater Sydney as a medium-risk area from midnight, meaning arrivals from there will have to quarantine for 14 days.

Tasmania classifies Sydney’s northern beaches as a high-risk area, meaning no entry to Tasmania is allowed unless a special exemption is granted.

By Andi Yu