NSW has reported new cases of coronavirus. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi
NSW has reported new cases of coronavirus. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

Masks to stay until testing rises: Gladys

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says mandatory mask wearing rules will stay in place while testing numbers remain low.

Up to 8pm on Saturday night, the state recorded six new locally acquired coronavirus cases which are all linked to a man who was identified the previous day.

Five of the new cases are the spouse and children of the man, while the other is a close contact.

Ms Berejiklian said mask wearing in shopping centres and large indoor public places will remain while testing numbers remain low, urging people in the city's west to come forward for testing.

"We just ask people to be respectful, and have I said this on many occasions, the New South Wales Government won't impose a restriction a day longer than we need to but our ability to ease restrictions does rely on the science and the health advice and we need to make sure we do it at the right time," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We're still confident that if testing rates stay high, that the health advice will give us that confidence to make those changes. But it does rely on more people coming forward to get tested."

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says mandatory mask wearing rules will stay in place while testing numbers remain low. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says mandatory mask wearing rules will stay in place while testing numbers remain low. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker

In the past 24 hours, only 12,700 tests were conducted - a far cry from the 20,000 usually acknowledged by the Premier as an acceptable number.

Sunday's announcement follows one new locally acquired case in NSW on Saturday, prompting health alerts for a medical clinic and a Centrelink in the city's west.

"The [new] cases are all very close to Berala and investigations are underway," Ms Berejiklian said.

"I can't stress enough the importance of people coming forward and getting tested.

"All of us want to see those restrictions we have in place eased, all of us want to be confident we can go back to what we had before Christmas and that will only be possible if we get those high rates of testing to give our contact tracers, to give our health experts the confidence that we are on top of any unknown strains of the virus."

The six cases coincide with the federal government announcing no COVID-19 hot spots are in place in Australia.

NSW chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant said anyone in Bankstown, Lidcombe, Auburn, Berala and Wentworthville should come forward for testing.

Western Sydney residents have been urged to get testing. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Bianca De Marchi
Western Sydney residents have been urged to get testing. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Bianca De Marchi

Dr Chant said people who had visited the Auburn Centrelink last Thursday between 3pm and 4.15pm should monitor for symptoms and if feeling sick, get tested and go into isolation.

The state health department has also detected COVID-19 in the sewage at a treatment plant in Glenville.

"That catchment takes in a very broad catchment of suburbs," Dr Chant said. "So please go on to our website and if you are in that catchment, again, the most minuscule of symptoms please come out and get tested."

Ms Berejiklian said she has not been in contact with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews over possibilities of easing border restrictions between the states.

"He's not been in touch with me at all but I would also say that should have occurred quite a while back, because we don't have a hot spot in New South Wales," she said.

"We are, of course, dealing with a result of an outbreak from a month ago, but I think everybody would agree that closing a border of such significance is a really big deal and I stress that we waited until Victoria had in excess of - I think it was 180 cases they had the day after we announced the border closure."

Originally published as Masks to stay until testing rises: Gladys



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