Sydney Extends Anti-Covid Measures for Week on Untraceable Case
Restrictions on gatherings are being extended for another week in Sydney and surrounding areas after health officials said they were unable to identify how a man in the community caught Covid-19.
The New South Wales state government has extended safety measures until 12:01 a.m. on May 17, NSW Health said in a statement on Sunday. The restrictions were imposed on May 6 and were due to be eased on May 10, subject to review.
“Despite extensive investigations to date, NSW Health has not identified how the initial case was exposed to Covid-19, which suggests he acquired the infection through brief contact with a currently unidentified person who was infectious in the community,” the officials said. “To safeguard the community and reduce the risk of further transmission, the NSW Government has extended the temporary Covid-safe measures.”
Health authorities reported the initial community case on May 5 and began to trace where it may have originated after establishing the man hadn’t traveled overseas and didn’t work in a hotel quarantine, border or health role. His wife has also been diagnosed with the virus, but since then there have been no new locally acquired cases recorded.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged the people of Greater Sydney, which includes Wollongong, Central Coast and the Blue Mountains, to be patient.
“Thanks everyone for your patience,” she said in a tweet. “As the ‘missing link’ case hasn’t been identified we’re keen to prevent a super-spreading event. All safeguards/restrictions will be in place for an extra week.”
The measures include limiting the maximum number of people allowed into homes to 20, while singing and dancing in all indoor venues except those hosting weddings will be banned. Masks will be compulsory on public transport and indoor venues, such as theaters, hospitals and aged-care facilities. A requirement for customers to wear masks in retail stores has been eased, but staff who serve customers must continue to do so, NSW Health said today.
Meantime, New Zealand will lift a travel pause with New South Wales at midnight Sunday after health officials determined that the Sydney cases pose a low risk to public health.
Only one traveler from New South Wales was identified as a contact of one of the Sydney cases, the Ministry of Health said. That person was transferred to an isolation facility and has tested negative.
“Public health officials have assessed that the situation in Sydney is contained and there is no evidence to suggest widespread, undetected community transmission, it said.
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