Covid: Sydney residents urged to remain dwelling amid new outbreak

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Hundreds of thousands of Sydney residents have been urged to stay home after a new coronavirus outbreak ended a two-week run with no local cases.

Officials are working hard to trace the source of the infection, which has so far been found in 28 cases in the city’s Northern Beaches area.

The New South Wales (NSW) government has urged all local residents to wear a mask in public areas and be on “high alert”.

Local residents are now faced with restrictions when traveling to the other states of Australia.

The new cluster has sparked national concern and uncertainty about many Australians’ plans for a relatively normal Christmas celebration.

As of Wednesday, the country had only registered one locally acquired case in the past 14 days.

What was the Sydneysiders said?

About 250,000 people live on Sydney’s northern beaches. They were asked to stay home until Monday to have symptoms checked.

Others have been directed to avoid the area and use a mask when on public transport and in public spaces such as supermarkets and churches.

Image rightsReutersImage descriptionVacation shoppers in Sydney this week

Unlike in Melbourne, wearing masks in Sydney has not been common in recent months due to the low infection rates.

But NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian urged the city’s five million residents to be “extra Covid-safe” and rethink their social activities and movements.

“If we get to that in the next two or three days, we will all have a much better Christmas,” she told reporters on Friday.

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She said this was a “proportional” response for now, but added, “I don’t want to underestimate how serious the current outbreak is.”

What is happening elsewhere?

In the past few months, authorities have lifted most of the restrictions on daily living at the national level and reopened internal borders as Australia struck its second wave – centered on Melbourne.

In response to Sydney’s outbreak, several states have begun reintroducing bans or quarantine restrictions for travelers from the Northern Beaches area.

Western Australia also announced an even broader two-week quarantine order for anyone arriving from NSW.

NSW Health Secretary Brad Hazzard said he had seen an “avalanche” of complacency in Sydney over the past few weeks.

“This cluster reminds us in good time that we are still in the middle of a global Covid pandemic,” he said.

Media signatureCheers and tears as the families reunited in Sydney in November

Where did the outbreak come from?

Tests have shown that the Northern Beaches outbreak is a strain of Covid-19 found in quarantined travelers from the United States.

But the authorities still don’t know how it got into the community.

They said it spread after a couple failed to isolate at home while waiting for test results from Covid.

Image rightsEPAImage descriptionThousands of people have tested on Sydney’s northern beaches

Their December 11th visit to a popular turf club and pub in the Northern Beaches suburb of Avalon has now been identified as a “Super Seeder” event.

However, it is unclear how the couple – who had not traveled overseas – got infected.

Since Australia closed its borders in March, most of its outbreaks have started with violations of the hotel quarantine system for returned international travelers. Typically, employees at these locations were involved in unwittingly spreading the virus.

Such cases led to Australia’s largest outbreak in Melbourne and a rapidly contained outbreak in Adelaide.

Overall, Australia has recorded 908 deaths and just over 28,000 infections since the pandemic began – far fewer than many nations.

It has been praised for responding quickly to the pandemic with border closings, lockdown measures, and aggressive contract prosecution efforts. However, some failures have been blamed for deaths.

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