Additional face mask rules for Sydney as 77 new Covid cases recorded

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. File photo.

By PETER HACKNEY

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has declared she will be “shocked” if there are fewer than 100 new cases of Covid-19 reported tomorrow, after NSW recorded 77 cases and one death in the 24-hour period to 8pm last night.

Speaking at the daily Covid-19 briefing this morning, the premier said: “I’m anticipating the numbers in NSW will be greater than 100 tomorrow. 

“Now, that’s what I’m anticipating, and I’ll be shocked if it’s less.”

At the briefing, Ms Berejiklian announced the death of a 90-year-old woman in south-western Sydney – the first death from a locally acquired case of Covid-19 in Australia this year.

“Tragically we’ve seen one older person die and I want to extend my deepest condolences to their families and loved ones,” she said.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant said family visitations in south-western Sydney were the main vector of transmission.

“I need to give frank advice that the case numbers in south-western Sydney are extraordinarily high,” she said. 

“We know transmission is going through households, from household to household.

“I’ve spent a lot of my working life in south-western Sydney and I appreciate the strengths of the family. It’s wonderful to see,” Dr Chant said.

“But at this time, those close connections between family groups [are] actually so detrimental to achieving a public health outcome.”

New face mask rules

NSW Health has announced additional face mask requirements, to help control the spread of Covid-19.

From Tuesday, 13 July, face masks must be worn in all indoor common areas of residential buildings in the Sydney metropolitan area, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour. 

This includes all shared areas in apartment blocks such as lobbies, lifts, stairwells, corridors and laundry facilities. 

Masks must be worn by anyone entering, including: residents; staff such as cleaners and building managers; and visitors such as tradespeople, contractors, food and mail delivery services.

You do not need to wear a mask inside your own apartment. 

In a social media post this afternoon, NSW Health clarified: “We would expect the community to be wearing masks in common areas already, the date is when the order can be enforced from.”

Meanwhile, new rules on funerals, capping the number of attendees at ten people, commenced today.

The four acceptable reasons to leave your home remain the same. Residents are allowed to leave their homes in the following circumstances:

  • To shop for food or other essential goods and services (only one person per household per day can leave for essential shopping);
  • For medical care – including Covid-19 testing and vaccinations – or compassionate needs (only one visitor can fulfil carers’ responsibilities or visit for compassionate reasons);
  • To exercise (no more than only two people can exercise together – unless from the same household – and social distancing must be observed);
  • For essential work or education which cannot be done from home.

Sydney’s current Covid outbreak, which began in mid-June, now stands at 566 cases. Of those, 52 people are in hospital, with 15 people in intensive care, five of whom are on ventilators.

NSW has recorded, 6,054 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

Peter Hackney is the editor-in-chief of the Sydney Sentinel.