Australia's Covid-19 cases on the rise as masks made compulsory


The news that the state is battling two separate outbreaks in Sydney comes on the first day of mandatory mask restrictions across Greater Sydney, with enforcement to begin at midnight Sunday.

The state recorded no new cases acquired interstate or detected in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

But, "what is important is that they are in quarantine when they are diagnosed so that the risk of onward transmission is reduced", Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said in Melbourne.

A fundamental change they are urging NSW to make is strengthening restrictions on secondary contacts, requiring them to isolate in addition to confirmed cases and their close contacts.

Victorians who do not live in the border bubble local government areas who travel beyond the border bubble into greater NSW can not return to Victoria without a permit for 14 days, and must find suitable accommodation in NSW.

On Saturday, it announced seven new locally acquired cases in the past 24 hours, increasing the size of a cluster originally confined to the Northern Beaches region of Sydney that spread to other areas of the city and has now infected more than 150 people.

Health authorities in Victoria believe the virus has been spreading there for nearly two weeks.

Face masks are now mandatory in certain indoor settings, including on public transport, in Greater Sydney.

Face masks are now mandatory indoors at shopping centres, travelling on public and shared transport (including Uber and taxis), inside cinemas and theatres, attending places of worship, and in hair and beauty businesses.

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These measures do not apply to those living outside of Sydney, the Central Coast, or Wollongong.

There are 161 active cases in the state, majority in the northern beaches of Sydney, and 13 emanating from liquor store that are not connected to the beaches cluster.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned tighter restrictions could be introduced across Greater Sydney if more cases arise without known links.

Residents in Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Central Coast and Blue Mountains, are required to cover up.

Children under 12 and those with specific health disorders are exempt but encouraged to wear masks where possible. Weddings, funerals and places of worship will also be reduced to 100 people and will be subject to the four-square-metre rule.

Outdoor performances and protests are reduced to 500 people and controlled outdoor seated events reduced to 2000.

'We have already strongly wanted people to wear a mask but we do not want to restrict peoples ability to go about their business.

"It's still relatively early days and if further cases pop up then there could still be cause for concern and that's why we're wearing masks and there are limits to private household gatherings", he said.