New South Wales has recorded its highest daily total of new Covid-19 cases for more than three months as the state’s health department confirmed a positive case in Orange in the state’s central west and residents of the Australian Capital Territory were warned not to travel to Sydney.
NSW reported 21 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, the highest total since 16 April. There are now eight people in intensive care units across the state, up from five on Thursday.
The state’s chief medical officer, Dr Kerry Chant, confirmed on Friday that health officials had linked two outbreaks between the Thai Rock restaurants in Wetherill Park and Potts Point. There are now 94 cases linked to the Wetherill Park restaurant.
“We are awaiting further genome sequencing to see how that’s further linked to The Apollo, and we’ll update the community once that data is in hand,” Chant told 2GB on Friday morning.
The 21 new cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday came from more than 25,000 tests, with the Potts Point cluster growing to 19 people. It comes as four more venues were added to the list of Sydney pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes attended by people with the coronavirus.
Late on Thursday the NSW health department said the Harpoon & Hotel Harry in Surry Hills, Matinee Coffee in Marrickville and Tan Viet in Cabramatta had all been closed for deep cleaning and contact tracing.
Darlo Bar in Darlinghurst on Thursday night also confirmed it was frequented on July 26 by someone who has since tested positive to Covid-19. The bar will be closed for cleaning and reopened on Saturday.
On Friday the ACT updated its travel advice to warn residents to only travel to greater Sydney for “absolutely essential reasons” and said the situation was “evolving quickly”.
“We do not issue this advice lightly – but it is a recognition of the fact that the risk to Canberrans of contracting Covid-19 in greater Sydney, and potentially bringing it back to the ACT with them, is currently higher than we would like,” the ACT government said. “We are asking Canberrans to continue exercising the good judgment they have shown during the pandemic thus far and to respect this advice.”
In a press conference on Friday, the ACT chief minister, Andrew Barr, said the territory would not yet commit to further easing restrictions in the capital because of the situation in NSW.
“Our local situation is positive … but we cannot overlook the broader environment,” he said.
“We cannot ignore the risk of a rapid spread of the virus in Canberra if we did start to see more cases in NSW.”
Also on Friday the NSW health department confirmed a positive case in Orange in the state’s central west. In a statement the western NSW local health district chief executive, Scott McLachlan, said the person was a close contact of a case from a known cluster in Sydney.
McLachlan said the person was currently in isolation in Orange.
“The public health unit has contacted all close contacts,” he said. “They have been provided with public health information which includes to be tested for Covid-19 and remain in isolation for 14 days
“If you have not been contacted by the public health unit you have not been identified as a close contact.”