21 Jun 2021

Testing ramps up in attempt to contain Sydney outbreak

12:22 pm on 21 June 2021

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants 40,000 people to be tested for Covid-19 each day in a bid to contain the growing outbreak in Sydney's eastern suburbs.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian is calling for mass Covid-19 testing to help contain the Sydney outbreak. Photo: AFP

The so-called Bondi cluster yesterday grew to nine cases.

It began when a limousine driver, whose passengers included international airline crew, tested positive for the Delta Covid-19 variant last week.

Australian authorities are concerned the virulent strain has been passed around despite "fleeting" contact between the driver, and some of the new infections.

Berejiklian yesterday said she wanted to see up to 40,000 people get swabbed for the virus each day.

"The quicker we can diagnose cases, the quicker we can get ahead of the transmission of this virus," she said.

There were 24,468 Covid-19 tests reported in NSW to 8pm Saturday night, compared with the previous day's total of 26,631.

Berejiklian described the next few days as a critical time for Sydney.

"The higher the rate of testing, the more confidence we will have that we've captured all cases currently circulating in the community," she said.

"With this current outbreak, we have not experienced a super-spreading event. That is what we want to prevent."

Despite the growing number of cases, the NSW government has not restricted the numbers of people who can gather at gyms, hospitality venues, and private or public gatherings.

However, yesterday afternoon face masks became mandatory in several settings in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Shoalhaven and Wollongong local government areas.

Berejiklian urged people to get immunised, even as she expressed frustration with the vaccine rollout.

She had been calling on the federal government for additional doses of vaccines and would raise the issue at national cabinet today, she said

NSW had 100 vaccination sites across the state and hoped to open more, Berejiklian said.

"For us, the issue is supply. If you get us the doses, between the GP network and the NSW government, we will get those jabs in arms, but the challenge for us is getting supply and getting those vaccines.

"The vaccine is our road to freedom, our road to a Covid-normal life but can I say in the interim how important it is, we are nowhere near having vaccinated the majority of our population yet, so all of us have to do the right thing in the next few days."

She urged people to follow the health advice and wear masks, warning that the government may impose more restrictions if the number of cases continued to rise.

"We will reassess what happens beyond Wednesday or Thursday morning but until that time, could everyone please wear those masks in those settings we have asked you to do so."

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant revealed fragments of the virus had been detected in sewage in Brooklyn, north of Sydney.

Chant said that was a concern, as no one residing in the area had been recently discharged from hotel quarantine.

People who have previously had Covid-19 can still "shed" the virus for some time after they cease to be infectious.

"We are calling for the community to come forward for testing. At this stage, we have not been able to identify positive cases in the catchment," Chant said.

The Brooklyn area serves about 1,000 people and covers the suburbs of Dangar Island, Carwin, Brooklyn, Mooney Mooney and Cherry Oak point.


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