Fears are growing that Sydney’s COVID restrictions could be extended as the city and its surrounds reach the halfway point of its 14-day lockdown.
Thirty-five possible exposure sites were identified by NSW Health on Friday evening after the state recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases since the first wave in 2020.
Anyone who attended Exquisite Brows and Spa in the Marrickville Metro between 9am and 5pm last Saturday is a close contact and must isolate for 14 days. A Strathfield medical practice, the Manly Novotel and the Eastlakes Woolworths are also close contact venues.
Further alerts have been issued for venues in Burwood, Auburn, Homebush, Strathfield, Eastern Creek, Roselands, Villawood and Lakemba in Sydney’s inner west and west; Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction in the east; Eastlakes, Matraville, Oatley, Caringbah, Kirrawee, Rockdale and South Hurstville in the south and southeast; and Avalon in the northern beaches.
Two legs of the 400 bus last Thursday have also been identified as COVID risks. The full details are on the NSW Health website.
Some 31 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, taking the outbreak tally to 226 cases.
Only a third were in isolation for the entirety of their illness, prompting concerns the lockdown rules imposed on Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong will be extended beyond July 9.
Five of the newly reported cases remain under investigation.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday said she was relieved local case numbers had not significantly spiked in recent days, but authorities wanted to see a rise in the proportion of new cases already in isolation.
“I will say that the next few days are critical,” she told reporters.
“Come early next week we do want to see that tide turned.”
Eight of the new cases are associated with a 24-year-old student nurse who worked up to five days while infectious with COVID-19.
The cluster around the nurse now tallies 10, including five healthcare or aged care workers. Four of them worked while infectious, while one did not.
Almost 400 staff and patients deemed close contacts are in isolation, with authorities bracing for more cases.
Meanwhile, NSW has lifted stay-at-home orders for travellers from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland as those states and territories have eased their own lockdowns.
However, visitors from Brisbane and Moreton Bay must remain at home, as must anyone in the Greater Sydney area.
A record 73,602 people were tested in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday.
The record for the daily number of vaccines administered by NSW Health was also broken, with 21,289 people jabbed in the 24-hour period.
However, Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant refused to be drawn on whether she would advise that the lockdown be extended.
Dr Chant said she would be looking closely at the number of new cases which were in isolation and at unlinked chains of transmission.