Sydney Mask Mandate Extended as Delta Variant Cluster Increases

By Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
June 22, 2021 Updated: June 22, 2021

The New South Wales (NSW) state government has extended its mandate to wear masks while on public transport and in most indoor settings for another week after 10 new locally-acquired cases of the Delta strain of the CCP virus were reported.

The new public health mandate will be in effect until midnight on June 30.

The news cases are linked to the Bondi cluster, which has now reached 21.

“It is only when you are eating or drinking indoors at a venue that you can’t or shouldn’t wear a mask,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said. “In every other circumstance, if you live or are in Sydney, you must wear a mask for another week beyond Wednesday midnight.”

The ABC reported that Berejiklian was also concerned that the virus had been transmitted through only fleeting contact.

“Unfortunately given how contagious the virus is, we need to assume that if you are with a number of people, a small number of people, or if you are having a meal with someone; if any at one in that group has the virus, everyone in our group will have the virus,” she said.

“That is how contagious it is.”

This comes after five new cases were detected on Monday, with an additional seven cases being confirmed after the 8 p.m. cutoff for the data records.

Among the new case are a woman in her 60s from the Illawarra region and a woman in her 40s from Sydney’s northern suburbs. Both were close contacts of previously reported cases.

A woman in her 20s from Sydney’s eastern suburbs who works at Bondi Junction also tested positive. Bondi Junction was visited by an airport limousine drive last week who authorities believe contracted the virus from flight crew.

All of the new cases except for two were already in isolation when tested, and all of the cases except for one, a student at St Charles Catholic Primary School in Waverley, have been linked back to known cases.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the child had tested positive “a few hours ago” and called for parents to remain calm. She thanked the school for working with health officials to develop a plan for the 365 children in the eastern suburbs school to be sent home to get tested.

At present, there will be no lockdowns in the outbreak regions, but the premier explained the health advice could change at any moment.

“At this stage because all but one case is linked to an existing case and that case was only discovered a few hours ago … that gives us a degree of confidence that what we have asked people to do matches the risk that is there at the moment,” she said.

“If we suddenly have a number of unlinked cases and if we suddenly have them outside the geographic region they are concentrated in, that will obviously adjust the health advice, and we will respond to that.”

The ABC reported that NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said that the Delta variant of the CCP virus was a “gold medallist” in transmitting from one person to another.

He also urged people to use QR codes.

“What I want to emphasise is people need to use those QR codes,” Hazzard said. “I have detected in my wandering to the city a degree of apathy. Some of the restaurants and cafes aren’t asking people to use the QR codes; individuals are not using them. We really need to take this particular virus and the variant extremely seriously.”

AAP contributed to this article.

Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark