NSW Health has issued a warning after the state reported one new case of Covid-19 via community transmission.
The new case, reported on Saturday, remains under investigation, but is believed to be linked to the Berala BWS cluster, while 11 more cases were confirmed in returned travellers.
On both Thursday and Friday, NSW recorded no new cases of community transmission.
But NSW Health says it is “very likely that Covid-19 is continuing to circulate in the community among people who have mild or no symptoms”.
“It is vital that we pick up every case of Covid-19 if we are to prevent further community transmission, and the best way we have of doing this is maintaining high testing numbers,” NSW Health said.
“Anyone who is experiencing any cold- or flu-like symptoms, no matter how mild, is urged to isolate immediately, get tested and continue to isolate until a negative result is received.
“This is particularly important in areas where there have been recent cases, including western Sydney, south-west Sydney, the Northern Beaches and Wollongong.”
‘Relief on the way’ as NSW monitors Covid cases
The state will monitor testing numbers over the weekend before announcing whether it will lift some of the restrictions currently in force across Greater Sydney.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Friday “relief is on the way” as long as NSW maintains low or zero number of cases and testing numbers are high.
Ms Berejiklian also fired a shot at states enforcing travel restrictions on those currently in Greater Sydney or regional NSW.
Victorians who have visited Sydney in the past fortnight face a $5000 fine and 14 days of quarantine if they try to return home without a government exemption.
The entire city is still considered a "red zone" by Victoria.
"There's nowhere in NSW that is currently a hot spot by anyone's definition - well, I should say, by any medical definition," Ms Berejiklian said.
"So I don't see why any state is precluding ... people in NSW from moving freely back home."
Victoria eyes NSW cases amid border decision
Victoria's health minister Martin Foley said the government was constantly reviewing the red zones, taking into account the number of active cases and mystery cases in both states.
"Let's be clear, there are almost 200 cases circulating in the Greater Sydney community since December the 16th, not just on the northern beaches," Mr Foley said.
"We're more than confident that our colleagues in New South Wales are mopping this up, but there have been chains of unknown transmission for many weeks now in Sydney."
Travellers from Greater Brisbane arriving in South Australia from Sunday will not have to go into quarantine, the SA government announced on Friday.
Meanwhile, Western Australia late on Friday assigned a "low risk" status to Victoria, which has now recorded 10 days of no local transmission.
Victorians still need to self-quarantine for 14 days but, unlike residents from "medium risk" Queensland and NSW, will be able to enter WA without an exemption from Monday.
Victorians return home from Brisbane
Victorians stuck in Brisbane will be able to return home from 6pm on Saturday.
The state on Saturday again recorded zero new locally acquired Covid-19 cases, the 10th day in a row that it has done so.
The Victorian government will downgrade Brisbane to an orange zone from a red zone on Saturday evening, meaning Victorians will not need to apply for an exemption to return home.
Returnees will need to apply for a travel permit, which they will receive automatically. They must also take a coronavirus test within three days of their arrival and isolate until they receive a negative result.
The same process will apply for anyone travelling from Brisbane, whether or not they live in Victoria.
The Victorian government is no longer intensely anxious about the Covid-19 leak from hotel quarantine in Brisbane, as the infection appears to have spread no further than a cleaner and her partner.
Premier Daniel Andrews said “there is sufficient stability” to allow Victorians to return from Brisbane now.
Victorians stranded in Sydney should be hopeful they will be able to return home soon as well, with Mr Andrews flagging on Saturday he was preparing to dramatically reduce the red zone in NSW.
“I do hope to be able to make announcements very similar to what we've just announced with Brisbane in the next couple of days. But, again, it has to be based on advice,” Mr Andrews said.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the trend in Sydney was good.
“There are clearly some local government areas within Greater Sydney that have now gone a number of days of cases without transmission. I will look very intensively at the epidemiology across Greater Sydney over the next couple of days,” he told reporters.
The announcement will come in the next day or two, Mr Andrews said.
Mr Andrews said the government would be matching permit and testing data to ensure those who return from orange zones were tested as required.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.