Mask restrictions extended to Greater Sydney for an extra week as the eastern suburbs COVID-19 cluster grows to 21 people

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  • Face masks will be required in all indoor public areas across Greater Sydney for another week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced Tuesday.
  • The restrictions, which were slated to end at midnight Wednesday, were extended in response to the city’s Bondi cluster growing to 21 people.
  • NSW Health revealed five new cases in the community on Wednesday, with investigations underway into how two of those people contracted the virus.
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New South Wales has extended its mandatory face mask restrictions for another week and expanded the mandate to all of Greater Sydney, after health authorities detected five new cases of COVID-19 in the community.

Speaking in Sydney on Tuesday morning, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the requirement to wear face masks in public indoor areas and on public transport, which was slated to end at midnight Wednesday, will be extended another seven days.

The mandate will also expand beyond certain local government areas to cover all of Greater Sydney, and excludes the Central Coast and the Hunter region.

“It is only when you are eating or drinking indoors at a venue that you can’t or shouldn’t wear a mask,” Berejiklian said. “In every other circumstance, if you live or are in Sydney, you must wear a mask for another week beyond Wednesday midnight.”

Offices and other private workplaces are excluded, but must still follow COVID-safe protocols.

The restrictions were extended after NSW Health revealed Sydney’s eastern suburbs cluster has grown to 21 people.

The new cases fall into three categories: two which were revealed yesterday, but were counted too late to form a part of Monday’s tally; three counted in the 24 hours to 8pm Monday, which are counted in today’s tally; and seven which were revealed today, but were counted too late to form part of today’s official tally.

The first two cases, revealed yesterday and counted in today’s tally, are close known contacts of existing cases.

Two of the other three cases counted in today’s tally are also known close contacts of existing cases, who had been in isolation.

The third is an eastern suburbs woman in her 20s who works at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, and is linked to the Bondi cluster. Investigations into that infection are ongoing.

Of the remaining seven cases, which will be formally counted in Wednesday’s tally, six are close household contacts of prior cases who had been in isolation.

The remaining case is a young student who attends an eastern suburbs primary school.

“The school is working with health officials to develop a plan for the children to be discharged home to their parents,” said Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, “and we want to provide advice and a mechanism to get testing, because we want to find out how this child was exposed”.

Berejiklian said it is likely that more household contacts of existing cases will test positive, considering how contagious the virus is.

Public transmission remains an area of high concern.

“Unfortunately, a number of people who contracted the virus have done so in a very fleeting way, literally being within less than a metre within somebody,” Berejiklian said.

“But sharing the same airspace without any physical contact has still meant the virus has managed to transfer.”

Anyone who attended the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre between 12 June and 18 June been urged to seek COVID-19 testing.

NSW Health said 28,645 coronavirus tests were carried out over the past 24 hours, and 18,045 vaccine doses were administered.