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Mask warning for residents in New South Wales as coronavirus outbreaks worsen

Urgent plea for residents in NSW to wear masks on public transport, in ‘red zone’ suburbs and while shopping as coronavirus clusters worsen

NSW health authorities have updated mask usage recommendations to include public-facing workers, worshippers and residents near clusters.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday said authorities would not make public mask usage mandatory in NSW but had revised their current recommendations to address four specific circumstances.

As well as in situations where social distancing is impossible, masks should also be worn in NSW by public-facing employees such as hospitality or supermarket workers, worshippers and residents of suburbs near COVID-19 clusters.

‘We have been talking about masks for several weeks but obviously the persistent situation in Victoria gives us cause for alarm in terms of the potential for further seeding in NSW, and it is about risk mitigation strategy,’ Ms Berejiklian said on Sunday.

‘We’re going to the next stage of assessing what else and how else we can decrease the risk and break the current chain coming through NSW.’

NSW residents are being recommended to wear face masks in public as coronavirus case numbers soar. Pictured: three people leave the Albion Park coronavirus testing facility in Surry Hills

NSW residents are being recommended to wear face masks in public as coronavirus case numbers soar. Pictured: three people leave the Albion Park coronavirus testing facility in Surry Hills

NSW recorded 12 new cases – with just one in hotel quarantine – in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday from almost 22,500 cases. Eight people are in intensive care.

NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty on Saturday said seven cases in the past week had not been linked to known cases, emanating from southwestern Sydney, western Sydney, southeastern Sydney and Sydney local health districts.

It comes after an 83-year-old man connected to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in southwest Sydney died on Saturday, taking the NSW death toll to 52 and the nationwide tally past 200.

It was the first coronavirus-related death in NSW since late May.

The Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster is nearing 100 cases, while the cluster in Potts Point has reached 24 and the funeral events cluster sits at 33.

A popular venue on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, meanwhile, was on Saturday forced to shut after hosting a COVID-positive patron on the afternoon of July 24.

The Bavarian in Manly underwent deep cleaning and reopened to the public on Saturday afternoon. Patrons on the afternoon of July 24 should monitor for respiratory symptoms.

The Harpoon & Hotel Harry in Surry Hills, Matinee Coffee in Marrickville and Tan Viet in Cabramatta are among other venues required to undertake deep cleaning in recent days.

NSW Police Minister David Elliott on Sunday said nine fines had been issued overnight for breaching restrictions, while Liquor and Gaming NSW has fined Sydney’s Watsons Bay Hotel $5000 after finding patrons drinking while standing and poorly-spaced poker machines.

It was the 15th NSW venue to be fined in the past three weeks for breaches.

‘It beggars belief that anybody would turn on the TV news bulletin today and see what’s going on in Melbourne and want to breach the law in NSW,’ Mr Elliott told reporters.

NSW Police said the fines were issued on Saturday night in relation to large parties in East Jindabyne and Maroubra, while a separate beach party in Mosman is being investigated after two 16-year-old girls required medical treatment for excessive alcohol consumption.

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