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New cases revealed in NSW as government moves to mandate masks

Seven new virus cases have been revealed in New South Wales as the government moves to mandate masks on public transport and in shopping centres for those in Sydney and surrounding areas.Those caught without one will be fined $200 from Monday, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Saturday.The indoor settings captured by the mask mandate…

Seven new virus cases have been revealed in New South Wales as the government moves to mandate masks on public transport and in shopping centres for those in Sydney and surrounding areas.

Those caught without one will be fined $200 from Monday, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Saturday.

The indoor settings captured by the mask mandate include shopping centres, public transport, cinemas, places of worship and hair and beauty salons.

It applies to people in Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains, with children 12 and under exempt.

“If you go to shopping centres, catch public transport or attend an entertainment venue like the cinema, you have to wear a mask,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We have already strongly advised people to wear a mask but we do not want to restrict people’s ability to go about their business (and) we want to increase economic activity … mask wearing in these settings will ensure we have the confidence to do that.”

Of the seven new cases, four are from the same household and all but one are linked to current infections.

Five are from western Sydney, and linked to the new Berala outbreak where contact tracers are now turning their attention.

Dr Kerry Chant said there are now seven cases linked to the Berala cluster. The original case is a man in his 40s and five of his family members and a co-worker have since tested positive.

One locally acquired case in Sydney’s west is a household contact of a previously reported case, a patient transport worker, and had been isolating for their infectious period, Dr Chant said.

“This is the second family member of this patient transport worker to test positive, while a co-worker also previously tested positive,” she said.

One locally acquired case is from southwestern Sydney and their source remains under investigation.

Twelve cases are in hotel quarantine.

More than 32,000 tests were conducted in the latest reporting period, but authorities are hoping for larger numbers over the coming weeks, particularly for western suburbs residents.

Ms Berejiklian also announced residents living in the southern half of the northern beaches will now be treated the same as Greater Sydney in regard to restrictions.

But stay at home provisions remain in the northern part of the northern beaches.

Residents in this area are not allowed to have guests over and can only leave the house for essential services. Exercise is limited to outdoors in groups of up to five.

Other restrictions which have come into force for Greater Sydney and surrounds include reducing the numbers at indoor gym classes to 30 and closing night clubs.

Others include:

  • Weddings and funerals limited to one person per 4 sqm up to a maximum of 100 people.
  • Outdoor performances and protests reduced to 500 people.
  • Controlled, outdoor gatherings (seated, ticketed, enclosed) reduced to 2,000 people.

Ms Berejiklian said mandating masks had been a topic discussed for months by health authorities and they will be using it as a tool to ensure businesses can continue to operate and people remain employed.

The news comes just days before the third cricket Test between Australia and India at the SCG, with the call to continue with the event sparking criticism from some corners.

The Premier said health officials will be doing a walk through of the venue’s COVID Safe plan.

“Organisers and police are aware of compliances. We need to make sure they work,” she said.

But she wouldn’t go as far as to say if any changes would be made or if masks will be mandatory for ticket holders – even when seated.

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