NSW residents have been urged to wear face masks in public settings as coronavirus case numbers in the state continue to rise.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday said authorities would not make mask usage mandatory in NSW, but revised their current recommendations to address four specific circumstances.
Masks should be worn by public-facing employees such as hospitality or supermarket workers, worshippers and residents of suburbs near COVID-19 clusters, as well as in situations where social distancing is impossible.
‘We have been talking about masks for several weeks but obviously the persistent situation in Victoria gives us cause for alarm in terms of the potential for further seeding in NSW, and it is about risk mitigation strategy,’ Ms Berejiklian said on Sunday.
‘We’re going to the next stage of assessing what else and how else we can decrease the risk and break the current chain coming through NSW.’
NSW residents are being recommended to wear face masks in public as coronavirus case numbers continue to rise. Pictured: patients leave the Albion Park coronavirus testing facility in Surry Hills
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she will wear a face mask when she goes grocery shopping
Ms Berejiklian said she will be heeding the advice of health authorities in her daily life, calling wearing a mask ‘the fourth line of defence’.
‘I want to stress it is not compulsory, but it is a strong recommendation from NSW Health, given where we are in the pandemic, given the risk posed from Victoria and given the rate of community transmission in New South Wales,’ she said.
‘I myself, when I next go grocery shopping, will be wearing a mask.’
NSW recorded 12 new cases – with just one in hotel quarantine – in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday from almost 22,500 cases.
Eight people are in intensive care, with at least 103 being treated for the virus in hospital.
NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty on Saturday said seven cases in the past week had not been linked to known cases, emanating from southwestern Sydney, western Sydney, southeastern Sydney and Sydney local health districts.
The Thai Rock Wetherill Park (pictured) cluster has grown to near 100 cases, while the Potts Point restaurant has reached 24
It comes after an 83-year-old man connected to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in southwest Sydney died on Saturday, taking the NSW death toll to 52 and the nationwide tally past 200.
It was the first coronavirus-related death in NSW since late May.
The Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster is nearing 100 cases, while the cluster in Potts Point has reached 24 and the funeral events cluster sits at 33.
A popular venue on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, meanwhile, was on Saturday forced to shut after hosting a COVID-positive patron on the afternoon of July 24.
The Bavarian in Manly underwent deep cleaning and reopened to the public on Saturday afternoon. Patrons on the afternoon of July 24 should monitor for respiratory symptoms.
The Bavarian bar and restaurant on Manly Wharf was forced to close for deep cleaning after a coronavirus scare before reopening on Saturday afternoon
A cleaner in Harpoon and Hotel Harry in Surry Hills on Friday after the venue was exposed to coronavirus
The Harpoon & Hotel Harry in Surry Hills, Matinee Coffee in Marrickville and Tan Viet in Cabramatta are among other venues required to undertake deep cleaning in recent days.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott on Sunday said nine fines had been issued overnight for breaching restrictions, while Liquor and Gaming NSW has fined Sydney’s Watsons Bay Hotel $5,000 after finding patrons drinking while standing and poorly-spaced poker machines.
It was the 15th NSW venue to be fined in the past three weeks for breaches.
‘It beggars belief that anybody would turn on the TV news bulletin today and see what’s going on in Melbourne and want to breach the law in NSW,’ Mr Elliott told reporters.
NSW Police said the fines were issued on Saturday night in relation to large parties in East Jindabyne and Maroubra, while a separate beach party in Mosman is being investigated after two 16-year-old girls required medical treatment for excessive alcohol consumption.
Health care workers dress themselves in personal protective clothing at Rushcutters Bay amid the growing second wave of coronavirus infections in NSW