16 new COVID-19 cases in NSW, Thai Rock cluster grows to 37
22 July 2020, Written by David Simmons
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says businesses should act like they expect the next customer who walks through their doors could have the virus.
The COVID-19 cluster linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Sydney continues to grow with New South Wales reporting 16 new cases of the coronavirus today.
Of the new cases, 11 can be traced back to Thai Rock, three to the Crossroads Hotel, one to a previously known case, and finally a returning traveller in hotel quarantine.
There are now 91 cases of COVID-19 being treated by NSW Health, with two patients in intensive care.
The Thai Rock restaurant cluster has now reached 37, while there are now 54 connected to the Crossroads Hotel.
There were no new cases reported today connected to the Batemans Bay outbreak, with the total confirmed from the Soldiers Club stable at eight.
Yesterday Hunter New England Health (HNEH) confirmed a man in Port Stephens had tested positive to COVID-19.
The source of the man's infection was a visitor from Sydney, with HNEH asking any symptomatic visitors to a pub called the Windsor Castle Hotel and the Salamander Shopping Centre to isolate and seek testing.
When asked about the new restrictions imposed on venues in NSW, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state government has given businesses ample time to prepare.
"Against my better judgment we gave businesses a whole week to gear up for this, and it's not very onerous," Berejiklian said.
"All of us have had to make adjustments in our life, this allows us to continue hiring staff, to continue operating, which is what we want. But at the same time, we need everybody to respect that the health advice is, to keep to the COVID-safe plans, and we know in theory what works.
"That balance can only be met if everybody does the right thing, including individuals and including businesses. And my expectation is that if you don't do the right thing from Friday you'll be found out, you'll be fined, and if you breach again you will be shut down."
Berejiklian has also urged all New South Wales citizens and businesses to not be complacent with the virus still active in the state.
"The best way we can we can live with this pandemic is for people not to cut corners, not to turn a blind eye, not to pretend they're immune, but really to expect that the next customer that walks into their premises could have the virus," Berejiklian said.
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant has asked for those in areas where there is community transmission to be on high alert and get tested if symptomatic.
"We're asking the community to work with us; this is a critical point. We're concerned that we've had potentially introductions into multiple settings - that's pleasing to see with the detected cases in Batemans Bay and I was actually pleased that we picked up that case in the Hunter area," Chant said.
"And it was interesting that for a few hours we didn't actually know...we went 'Oh my God, there's been another case!' and that person was linked back to the Thai Rock cluster.
"I just think this highlights how rapidly the virus can move. And so what we're suggesting over this next period of time is can everyone reflect on their travel arrangements, their non-essential travel? Can we just leave it - non-essential travel - for the next two weeks?"
Elsewhere there is speculation Victoria will record another 484 new cases today, while Queensland has reported one new case - a returning ADF officer who is in quarantine. This means there are now just three active cases in the Sunshine State, with 7,800 tests undertaken in the past 24 hours.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk emphasised she was concerned that NSW was on heightened alert over COVID-19.
"That means I'm on heightened alert," she said.
"There is nothing more important to me than the safety of Queenslanders and the wellbeing of Queenslanders...I am monitoring the situation every day constantly."
Updated at 11:12am AEST on 22 July 2020.
Author: David Simmons