Health authorities on edge nationwide as COVID-19 community infections spark a Darwin lockdown and restrictions in Brisbane and Perth

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  • State and territory health authorities are on high alert after cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Northern Territory, Perth, and Brisbane.
  • Darwin is entering its first full day of lockdown over fears of transmission at a mine site, while new mask mandates are in effect for Perth, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast.
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Sunday that case numbers in the state are likely to increase over the coming days.
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New South Wales faces an anxious wait for the latest figures from the state’s COVID-19 outbreak, while cases detected in the Northern Territory, Perth, Brisbane, and the Sunshine Coast have put the nation on high alert.

NSW Health on Sunday revealed that 30 new cases of COVID-19 were detected in the community in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday, bringing the total number of cases linked to the Bondi cluster to 110.

Two cases detected by state health authorities remain under investigation.

More cases should be expected in the coming days despite the two-week lockdown now covering the Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, and Wollongong, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Sunday.

Of primary concern are new strains of the virus, which health authorities believe are more infectious and easily transmissible than those previously faced in Australia.

“Given how contagious this strain of the virus is we do anticipate that in the next few days case numbers are likely to increase beyond what we have seen today,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

The NSW Government is expected to reveal a economic assistance package targeted at businesses impacted by the lockdowns on Monday, while some major lenders have vowed to offer loan deferrals and other support measures to impacted borrowers.

The Federal Government’s decision to register those areas as COVID-19 hotspots means eligible workers will be free to apply for the new COVID-19 disaster payment, which comes into effect over the second week of lockdowns.

Berejiklian is slated to face the media at 11am.

Fears for the virus spread far beyond the Harbour City.

Darwin has woken to its first full day of the city’s 48-hour lockdown, as Northern Territory health officials confirm five cases are now linked to a mine site in Central Australia.

Of some 900 fly-in, fly-out workers reportedly present at the Newmont Corporation Granites Gold Mine in the Tanami Desert during the first confirmed case’s infectious period, concerns over the whereabouts of 20 workers who remained in the NT convinced authorities to call a hard shutdown.

Although those individuals have been located, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner told reporters on Sunday that more infections in the community are likely.

Concerns are also high in Queensland, where authorities revealed two new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

One of them is a miner who worked at the Tanami Desert site, who traveled through Brisbane Airport on Friday before heading to the Sunshine Coast.

The miner is one of the five cases noted by NT authorities.

Queensland has reimposed restrictions for Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast as a result of the new community cases. For the duration of Sydney’s lockdown, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast residents will only be permitted 30 guests at the home, and a one person per four square metre rule for venues will be enforced.

From 1am Tuesday, fitted face masks will become mandatory in public indoor areas across Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast regions.

Similar mask restrictions have also come into place for the Perth and Peel regions, after Western Australian authorities revealed a woman in the city’s northern suburbs tested positive for the virus after returning from Sydney.

Thirty-person limits on at-home gatherings now apply, while entertainment, hospitality, worship, and fitness venues must all comply with a one person per two square metre rule.

The rapidly changing situation across the continent has sparked snap action from South Australia, which has now banned entry to anyone from NSW, the NT, Queensland, Western Australia, and the ACT — which has not recorded any recent cases of COVID-19.

Tasmanians are still free to enter the state, as are Victorians who did not visit any of that state’s listed Tier 1 or Tier 2 exposure sites after June 20.

Victoria itself has banned entry to those in Sydney and Darwin, while the rest of New South Wales, plus the Perth and Brisbane regions are listed as orange zones, meaning travelers must receive COVID-19 testing within 72 hours of entering the state, and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

The flurry of case updates and new restrictions is expected to culminate in an emergency meeting of the National Cabinet on Monday.