Australia's COVID-19 cases on the rise as masks made compulsory

Victoria has more than 30 active cases and has made masks mandatory across the state, restricted the number of people who can meet socially and shut its border with NSW. Health authorities have identified 220 "close contacts" and more than 50 "exposure sites" linked to positive cases.

Reuters | Updated: 03-01-2021 07:57 IST | Created: 03-01-2021 07:57 IST
Australia's COVID-19 cases on the rise as masks made compulsory

Australia's most-populous state of New South Wales (NSW) reported eight new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, while neighbouring Victoria's tally increased by three, as new measures to combat the disease kicked in. The NSW outbreak started around mid-December in Sydney's Northern Beaches area, where a quarter of a million people are in strict lockdown until Jan. 9. Cases associated with the cluster now total 148.

A smaller cluster in the west of the city, linked to a different genome sequence, has 13 confirmed cases. But the state's chief health officer, Kerry Chant, said authorities are worried as recent transmission at a liquor store occurred with "fleeting" exposure. "We know these transmission events have happened through very minimal exposure. We are asking members of the community who did purchase alcohol or enter that premises for that period to be very vigilant," Chant told reporters.

NSW has made wearing masks mandatory at indoor venues like gaming rooms, hair salons and shops as authorities try to limit the spread of the disease. They will be legally enforced from midnight local time. Australia has avoided the worst of the pandemic following swift action by authorities to shut borders, enforce lockdowns, and to carry out widespread testing and social distancing.

Since the pandemic began, it has reported more than 28,450 COVID-19 cases and 909 deaths. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi) Despite the outbreak in Sydney, a scheduled 5-day cricket match between Australia and India, starting on Thursday, will go ahead, although with a reduced number of spectators. Five Indian players have been placed in isolation while the Australian and Indian cricket boards investigate allegations of a breach of biosecurity protocols.

In Victoria, where all cases are linked to the same Melbourne restaurant, officials are investigating how the disease spread from the source in NSW, authorities said. Victoria has more than 30 active cases and has made masks mandatory across the state, restricted the number of people who can meet socially and shut its border with NSW.

Health authorities have identified 220 "close contacts" and more than 50 "exposure sites" linked to positive cases. But, "what is important is that they are in quarantine when they are diagnosed so that the risk of onward transmission is reduced," Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said in Melbourne.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Addressing conflict-related sexual violence at long last

... ...

Why unequal access to coronavirus vaccines is a threat to us all

... ...

India’s love affair with fossil fuels: the path to sustainable development?

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Dems draw on civil rights history to push Amazon union vote

Some Democratic members of Congress and national union leaders on Friday sought to rustle up support for unionising a massive Amazon facility outside Birmingham, comparing Alabama workers organising campaign to the civil rights movement.Mai...

Raj bypolls: Poonia says people will give befitting reply to Gehlot govt

Ahead of the assembly bypolls in Rajasthan, BJP state unit president Satish Poonia on Saturday accused the ruling dispensation of betraying the people.The four assembly constituencies of Rajsamand, Sahada, Sujangarh and Vallabnagar will go ...

USDA relocations curtail ag research, farmer confidence

More than a year after two US Department of Agriculture research agencies were moved from the nations capital to Kansas City, Missouri, forcing a mass exodus of employees who couldnt or didnt want to move halfway across the country, they re...

Challenges of bio-bubbles: Ashwin says staying in rooms without fresh air in Australia was taxing

Star spinner Ravichandran Ashwin on Saturday said life in a bio-bubble is challenging as one has to struggle for basic necessities, adding that sometimes in Australia the Indian team had to stay in hotel rooms without fresh air as the windo...

Give Feedback