NSW Covid -opdatering: Sydney’s eastern suburbs cluster grows as Qld asks residents to reconsider travel

New South Wales has recorded a third Covid case connected to the eastern suburbs cluster, as the premier, Gladys Berejiklian, told residents to be on “high alert” but did not announce any new restrictions.

The latest Sydney outbreak was first discovered on Wednesday, when a limousine driver who transported flight crew tested positive. The driver had not been vaccinated, despite being a frontline worker.

Genomic testing has also revealed the current eastern suburbs outbreak to be the Delta variant, and a match for a strain that had been “uploaded in the US”.

It comes as Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the reintroduction of travel declarations for anyone entering the state ahead of the school holidays and asked residents to reconsider travel to greater Sydney.

When asked why the driver had not been vaccinated, Berejiklian said the number of contractors and new employees in the quarantine system meant it could not be guaranteed that “100%” of workers would be vaccinated.

“People who are employed directly by police or NSW Health have all been vaccinated, but we also have to appreciate there are new people coming in every day to the system,” she said on Thursday morning.

“We have literally tens of thousands of people involved in our hotel quarantine system. We’ve vaccinated all the permanent employees and those in the system a while but every day there are new people, subcontractors of subcontractors coming into the system.”

On Thursday morning, the state recorded two new locally acquired cases: a woman in her 70s and a man in his 40s.

The woman in her 70s had tested positive in the eastern suburbs, with transmission likely occurring at a cafe in Vaucluse, according to the state’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant,

The man in his 40s tested positive in Baulkham Hills in the city’s north, but Berejiklian said NSW Health was still determining if it was a false positive or an old case, because the “viral load in his system was very low”. The premier said this case could not yet be linked to the eastern suburbs until more tests were conducted.

Egter, the woman in her 70s has been linked to the eastern suburbs cluster, which now numbers three, including the limousine driver and his wife, who tested positive on Wednesday.

Chant, said the woman in her 70s had attended Bell’s Cafe in Vaucluse “at the same time as the driver on June 13”.

“We consider all people who were at that cafe at the same time as the driver to be close contacts and they must all be tested and isolate for 14 days after that visit. Because we’ve had transmission at that cafe, we’re urging everyone to take the request for testing seriously.”

Victoria recorded no new locally acquired Covid cases on Thursday, and a further easing of restrictions is still scheduled for the state on Friday. For Melbourne, the 25km travel restriction will be lifted, masks will no longer be always required outdoors, and in Melbourne and regional Victoria caps on visitors to homes will be raised.

In NSW, Berejiklian stopped short of announcing any lockdowns or restrictions, but asked people to refrain from large social gatherings “unless you absolutely have to”.

"Op hierdie stadium, all we’re asking people to do is be on extra high alert, especially in the eastern suburbs,” the premier said.

“Unless you absolutely have to attend a large gathering, unless you absolutely have to engage in activities of a social nature in the next few days, we ask everybody to refrain from that, to be extra careful, to make sure you hand sanitise and socially distance.”

Berejiklian said people should “modify their activity” for the “next few days”.

Berejiklian said it was not mandatory to be vaccinated to work in transporting flight crew but “we have very strong recommendations”.

The NSW health minister, Brad Hazzard, called on NSW residents to get vaccinated.

“It should be a salutary reminder to all of us that you should get vaccinated," hy het gesê. “You can’t hide from what’s happening in the world. As soon as your turn comes, go and get vaccinated.”

From 1am on Saturday 19 Junie, all travellers entering QLD, from any state or territory, will be required to complete the Queensland Travel Declaration.

Palaszczuk tweeted the announcement, adding that “this step is a sensible measure to keep Queenslanders safe”.

In another tweet, Palaszczuk asked those who may be travelling to NSW, and specifically greater Sydney, to “reconsider.”

The travel declaration needs to be completed up to three days prior to arrival, with the QLD Health website saying the form takes “3 minutes” to complete, and a declaration is issued “immediately.”

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