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New South Wales health authorities have reported 11 new cases of Covid-19 as the state’s premier, Gladys Berejiklian, issues a plea for younger residents in the state to limit social activity after two separate Covid-19-positive men in their 20s visited more than 14 venues across inner Sydney and Newcastle.
The premier’s calls come as new containment measures take effect, to divert all flights from Victoria to Sydney airport for mandatory hotel quarantine, in a week where the NSW government has resisted calls to make face masks compulsory in certain indoor settings.
In the face of government hesitance on the position, the NSW chief health officer, Kerry Chant, on Thursday night reiterated her call for residents to wear masks, particularly on public transport, and in places of worship, restaurants and pubs, in a media release not associated with any government minister.
Chant’s calls for mask use have been backed up by the Australian Medical Association, with the NSW president, Danielle McMullen, issuing a statement on Friday saying “NSW is struggling to return to the previous environment where it had no community transmission”.
On Thursday, Berejiklian told Sydney radio station Triple M that NSW was “on a knife-edge” and “about halfway through what is a critical period”.
“To the young people, try and modify the number of places that you go to,” she said. “We’re not saying don’t socialise or don’t go out at all but we are saying please limit your behaviours just in the next few weeks.
“If you have the virus and you go out five times a week to different places, you could potentially be spreading it to five different locations.
“It’s so contagious that if you don’t know you have it and you are still socialising you have the potential to give it to so many people.”
In Sydney, the young man health authorities are investigating dined at the Jambo Jambo African restaurant in Glebe on 31 July from 7pm to 8.30pm and anyone who attended the restaurant at that time is asked to self-isolate and get tested.
The man also visited several other inner-Sydney venues, including the Eveleigh Hotel on 31 July from 8.30pm to 10pm. On 1 August, he visited the Warren View Hotel in Enmore, Mary’s in Macquarie Place, Cubby’s Kitchen and Burrow Bar in the city, all between 4pm to 11.15pm.
He also visited Woolworths Marrickville Metro on 2 August, from 7pm to 7.20pm, however patrons at all these venues following Jambo Jambo are only classified as casual contacts.
In Newcastle, the man of concern is a close contact of a Newcastle teenager whose diagnosis shut down his high school and sent two football teams into self-isolation.
The man attended several venues between Friday and Sunday including Bennett Hotel in Hamilton, Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton and the Wests New Lambton club.
NSW Health wants anyone who attended those venues between specific times to immediately self-isolate for 14 days from the day they attended and get tested.
The man also visited the Greenroof Bar and Restaurant in Hamilton, the Queens Wharf Hotel and Sushi Revolution in Hamilton, and was among 2,570 spectators at the Newcastle Jets-Western United match on Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Anyone who visited those venues on those dates is considered a casual contact.
Another case Sydney authorities are investigating includes a man in his 20s who attended Penrith Plaza, Master Hot Pot in Canley Vale and BBQ City Buffet in Bankstown on 1 August and those who were at those venues should be alert for symptoms.
The man is a close contact of a previously reported case associated with the Mounties club cluster.
Australian Associated Press contributed to this report