Sixty percent of passengers are reportedly wearing masks on public transport in New South Wales, as premier Gladys Berejiklian once again “strongly recommended” them on buses and trains.
NSW on Monday recorded 10 new cases of Covid-19, four of them locally acquired and all associated with the Sydney CBD cluster.
NSW Health also revealed that one person associated with the cluster could have contracted the disease while travelling on a Sydney bus. Contact tracers discovered that two people who have recently tested positive were both passengers on the same X39 bus, from Sydney’s city to Clovelly in the east, on 20 August.
The state’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said she was “open to the hypothesis that the transmission event occurred on the bus”. Opal card data and CCTV footage showed there were 14 people on the bus, which Chant said was “not particularly crowded”.
NSW Health and the premier said that masks were “strongly recommended” on public transport, but stopped short of making them mandatory.
Berejiklian told reporters that the latest NSW government survey showed that mask wearing “is at 60% on public transport”. The premier “did a spot check” on a bus she was on and “only one person was not wearing a mask”.
“You should not be catching a bus or a train if you are not wearing a mask, it is as simple as that,” Berejiklian said.
“At this moment, we are continuing keeping our policy advice around masks under review. Data out of Service NSW indicates that following our advice to the community … around the importance of mask wearing, we have seen [an] increase of mask wearing.”
NSW Health also issued warnings for a range of places including Woolworths Balmain on Thursday 27 August from 10-11am, Chemist Warehouse Balmain on Friday 28 August from 2-2.30pm, Sushi Rio on Victoria Ave in Chatswood on Thursday 27 August from 5.45-7.30pm, and the Coles at St Ives Shopping Centre on Friday 28 August from 1-2pm.
Anyone who attended those venues at those times is considered a casual contact and must monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately if they develop.
Of the four new local cases on Monday, two were household contacts and another two were close contacts of previously reported cases.
Berejiklian said today’s case numbers showed NSW was “not out of the woods” regarding the CBD cluster, but it was “pleasing to know the rates of community transmission is not as first anticipated, given the spread of people coming into the city”.
The premier and police reminded residents to keep social distancing as they enjoy warmer weather.
“Police gave very positive reports about people’s behaviour about social distancing and I think this augurs well for the future,” she said. “Today is the last day of winter and I’m pleased we got through the winter months as well as we did.”
“Now that the warmer weather is upon us, can I please ask everybody to think about their activities when they’re out of doors. As Dr Chant tells us, to be outdoors enjoying the sun is a healthy experience, just make sure you keep your social distance.”
Source: The Guardian