More COVID cases found in western Sydney

Hannah Ryan
·3-min read

Coronavirus has continued to spread in Sydney's west as news of possible transmission at the MCG sharpened anxieties over Sydney's cricket Test this week.

The state recorded four new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, including an 18-year-old man who whose positive result had previously been reported by authorities.

The man's camping trip through regional NSW before he tested positive has put the towns of Orange, Nyngan and Broken Hill on alert, with several venues subject to alerts.

His camping companions have so far tested negative.

The man attended the Berala BWS bottle shop on Christmas Eve, now the centre of the 16-strong Berala cluster.

Another case in western Sydney was a household contact of a previously identified case, who is likely linked to the Berala cluster.

The third case was a man in his 20s who is a household contact of an Avalon case, bringing that cluster to 149.

A man in his 30s from western Sydney also tested positive, with authorities unsure where he acquired the virus.

NSW Health reminded residents on Wednesday that COVID-19 testing is free, after a private Auburn clinic charged a child's family $120 for a test.

It said reimbursements were being arranged for people who had paid for tests, reiterating that a Medicare card is not needed to be tested.

Authorities want to sustain daily testing levels above 30,000 to make sure there are no undetected chains of transmission.

Some 32,667 people were tested in the most recent 24-hour period, up from 26,391 the previous day.

Pop-up clinics have been set up in Berala and Lidcombe, and the government has implored multicultural community leaders to pass the message on to their communities.

NSW Health issued several alerts for western Sydney venues on Tuesday evening after a man in his 30s tested positive, with authorities unsure where he acquired the virus.

Based on the man's location, authorities have also expanded the suburbs whose residents and workers are locked out of attending Sydney's Australia-India cricket Test from Thursday, adding Wentworthville and Belmore.

Those who go to the SCG need to wear a mask at all times except when eating and drinking, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Wednesday.

They're also encouraged to drive rather than use public transport.

The increased precautions for the SCG Test come after Victoria identified the MCG as a possible site of transmission.

Meanwhile, police have stepped up enforcement of the mask mandate for indoor venues in Greater Sydney, with six people receiving fines on Tuesday before 5pm.

One man copped a $200 fine for riding a train without a mask, after telling police he was in a hurry and didn't have one.

Mr Hazzard said on Wednesday he had asked police not to hand out fines where someone's memory had just slipped.

Police also charged a 43-year-old man who tried to leave hotel quarantine after he returned from the US and refused to be tested, meaning his quarantine had to be extended by 10 days. Officers had to physically escort him from the hotel hallway back to his room after he questioned their powers.

A 23-year-old man from Guildford in Sydney's west was fined $1000 after hosting a house party with between 30 and 40 guests on Tuesday night.

The northern zone of the northern beaches remains subject to stay-at-home orders.