NSW Premier urges wearing of masks as state records 12 new coronavirus cases

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has “strongly recommended” people in her state to wear masks after 12 new coronavirus infections were recorded in the past 24 hours.

The Premier said masks should be worn if you are in an enclosed space or if when you could not guarantee social distancing.

She said public transport, shopping for groceries and places of worship were all areas where masks should be worn.

“The next few weeks will make or break us,” Ms Berejiklian said, adding that she was not making businesses enforce mask wearing.

“My job as Premier is that I convey to the community in the strongest possible terms the best advice that Dr Kerry Chant [NSW Chief Health Officer] and her team of experts give to me.

“I would especially like businesses to consider the situation if they happen to have older clientele or older people who are their patrons.

I would expect that some businesses would go beyond the health advice, if they felt they had a particular vulnerable cohort among their customer or client base. But it is completely up to them.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison posted on social media soon after the announcement with a picture of himself wearing a mask.

NSW is seeing continued restriction breaches and its first coronavirus-related death in more than two months.

An 83-year-old man connected to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in southwest Sydney died on Saturday morning, taking the NSW death toll to 52 and the nationwide tally past 200.

It was the first coronavirus-related death in NSW since late May.

NSW recorded 12 new cases – with just one in hotel quarantine – in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday from almost 22,500 cases. Eight people are in intensive care.

Ms Berejiklian said wearing masks was a continuing part of the state’s “risk mitigation strategy” particularly with Victoria in crisis.

“While Victoria is in the situation it is in, it automatically puts us at risk, because we know no matter how strict you are at the borders, no border is complete, nobody is impenetrable, as Queensland themselves have found out this week as well,” she said.

“We cannot pretend we are geographically separated from Victoria. We are not.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian now thinks masks are a good idea. Photo: AAP

NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty on Saturday said seven cases in the past week have not been linked to known cases, emanating from southwestern Sydney, western Sydney, southeastern Sydney and Sydney local health districts.

The Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster is nearing 100 cases, while the cluster in Potts Point has reached 24 and the funeral events cluster sits at 25.

A popular venue on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, meanwhile, was on Saturday forced to shut after hosting a COVID-positive patron on the afternoon of July 24.

The Bavarian in Manly underwent deep cleaning and reopened to the public on Saturday afternoon. Patrons on the afternoon of July 24 should monitor for respiratory symptoms.

The Harpoon & Hotel Harry in Surry Hills, Matinee Coffee in Marrickville and Tan Viet in Cabramatta are among other venues required to undertake deep cleaning in recent days.

Harris Farm Market in Leichhardt and Darlo Bar in Darlinghurst also on Friday confirmed they were frequented on July 26 by COVID-positive people and have undergone deep cleaning.

NSW Police Minister David Elliott on Sunday said nine fines had been issued overnight for breaching restrictions, while Liquor and Gaming NSW has fined Sydney’s Watsons Bay Hotel $5000 after finding patrons drinking while standing and poorly-spaced poker machines.

It was the 15th NSW venue to be fined in the past three weeks for breaches.

“It beggars belief that anybody would turn on the TV news bulletin today and see what’s going on in Melbourne and want to breach the law in NSW,” Mr Elliott told reporters.

NSW Police said the fines were issued on Saturday night in relation to large parties in East Jindabyne and Maroubra, while a separate beach party in Mosman is being investigated after two 16-year-old girls required medical treatment for excessive alcohol consumption.

The increase in Sydney cases has prompted Queensland to ban all Greater Sydney residents from entering the state from Saturday.

-with AAP

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