Covid 19 coronavirus: NSW extends restrictions in Sydney to prevent ‘superspreading event’

New South Wales has extended Covid-19 restrictions for another week, until May 17, as health authorities remain unsure how a man from Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs contracted the virus.

The man and his wife, both in their 50s, tested positive earlier in the week. Neither are frontline workers or have any connection to hotel quarantine or border control. The man attended several venues across Sydney while unknowingly infectious, sparking fears it may have spread, despite the Australian state again recording no new community cases today.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the “missing link” in the chain of transmission has not been identified and that the extension in restrictions were necessary “to prevent a super-spreading event”.

The NSW health ministry said in a statement that it had not identified how the initial case was exposed to Covid-19, suggesting “he acquired the infection through brief contact with a currently unidentified person who was infectious in the community”.

On Thursday, Berejiklian said the restrictions, including limits on people inside a home, masks at indoor venues and a two-person cap on visitors allowed in aged-care facilities, would only apply to people in the Greater Sydney area.

She said it was “business as usual” for anyone outside those areas but urged people to “be sensible” in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

Genomic sequencing results have revealed the likely source of the man’s infection was a person who arrived from the US and attended special health accommodation after testing positive upon arrival in Australia. But how he caught it from that person remains unclear.

After the Sydney outbreak prompted a pause in the transtasman bubble, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed last night that flights to and from NSW will resume from 11.59pm tonight, given there are no further developments.

NSW residents will be required to adhere to the following public health guidelines until May 17:

• No more than 20 people allowed inside a home.

• No singing or dancing in indoor venues, including places of worship and entertainment venues – the exception is weddings.

• No drinking while standing up at indoor venues.

• Masks will be compulsory on public transport and in all public indoor venues including, theatres, hospitals, aged-care and front-of-house for hospitality staff (masks not needed when eating or drinking)

• Masks are not required in gyms or other similar facilities like indoor pools or dance studios.

• Only two visitors allowed in aged-care facilities.

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