Sydney isolated by new restrictions

Time running out for health authorities to contain the current coronavirus outbreak within Australia's largest city.

Sydney isolated by new restrictions

Sydney has been isolated from the rest of the country, with time running out for health authorities to contain the current coronavirus outbreak within Australia's most populated city.

The Bondi cluster has spread well outside its initial locale, with 16 new cases detailed on Wednesday and the toughest restrictions since Christmas put into force across seven local government areas (LGA).

People who live or work in the LGAs of City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside and Woollahra are forbidden to leave Sydney for the next seven days unless it's absolutely necessary.



"We are not putting any objections on you leaving the home for any purpose, but if you happen to live or work in those seven LGAs, we don't want you moving outside of Sydney," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Testing sites will be in overdrive as health authorities try to find new cases before they can spread the virus within the community.

Many daily cases have been people already isolating as close contacts of another known case.

Nine people who tested positive attended a West Hoxton birthday party with a person who worked at Westfield Bondi Junction.

"There were about 30 people at that gathering in a house. The person was unknowingly infectious and did not have symptoms," Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

"All those individuals would have unknowingly had the infection on Monday."

Westfield Bondi Junction.

All of those people had been in isolation since Monday, two days after the birthday party.

"Our contact tracing has been better than I've ever seen, but what we haven't seen before is the contagiousness of this variant of the virus," Ms Berejiklian said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard warned the current outbreak was "a very real and present danger, not just in a shopping centre but right across Sydney".

New restrictions for Sydney

New restrictions for Greater Sydney began at 4pm on Wednesday and will be in place for at least a week.

Mask-wearing will be mandatory in all workplaces.

In Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Shellharbour, no more than five visitors, including children, will be allowed in a home.


People who live or work in the LGAs City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside and Woollahra will not be permitted to leave metropolitan Sydney for the next week except for limited reasons. 

People from those LGAs will be able to leave the city to visit a relative in care or to work. 

No standing while drinking or eating will be permitted at hospitality venues, and the one person per four square metre rule will be enforced.

No singing or dancing will be permitted at any venue, including places of worship, except weddings where 20 people will be allowed on the dance floor.

Major outdoor events like sport will be allowed to proceed at just 50 per cent capacity.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and Dr Kerry Chant.

Gym classes for the next week at least will be limited to 20 people, all of whom will have to wear a mask. 

Public transport travellers will also be required to adhere to the green-dot system, limiting the capacity of train and light rail carriages. 

"Please abandon non-essential activities, please don't attend social gatherings unless you absolutely must," Ms Berejiklian said. 

Mr Hazzard warned footy fans from nursing their beers or mineral waters for the length of the game so they could keep their masks off.

"If you do, you are putting the entire community's health at risk," he said.

"This is no time for game-playing, it is no time for stupidity."

Ms Berejiklian did not rule out taking further action.

"We certainly didn't expect this situation a few days ago," she said.

"We have had the response in New South Wales not to burden our citizens unless we absolutely have to."


Childcare case

A Sydney childcare centre has confirmed a positive case of COVID-19.

The two-year-old, who attended Little Zaks Academy in Narellan Vale in Sydney's southwest on Monday, is part of the West Hoxton birthday party outbreak.

"It has come to our attention from the NSW Health Department and Liverpool Health that we have had a confirmed COVID-19 case from one of our children," a message from the centre to the parents, seen by 9News, reads.

The Little Zaks Academy in Narellan Vale.

The child attended the centre in the room for two- and three-year-olds from 9am-5.15pm on Monday.

The centre has been closed and anyone who attended on Monday is considered a close contact and must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days.

Meanwhile, residents in Sydney's Eastern suburbs are also heeding the call to get tested as authorities work to identify the source of a mystery COVID-19 case in a Year 3 student at Charles Waverley Catholic School.


Bondi COVID-19 testing clinic June 23

Students, staff and parents at the school are awaiting tests results as health authorities try to contain the spread after a year three student tested positive yesterday.

The school is only a kilometre away from Westfield Bondi Junction - the epicentre of the latest Sydney outbreak - but there is no clear link as to how the student was infected.

Dr Jeremy McAnulty told Today authorities would continue to "keep digging and digging to put the pieces together".

"Certainly this case was within the vicinity of Bondi Junction but the important thing is getting the people around each case tested," he said.

Dr Rob Grenfell, from the CSIRO, told Today the coming days would be critical in determining how the state moves forward.

"When it appears in a school, you wonder how many other children have got it or taken it home to their parents," Dr Grenfell said.

Lines are growing at a Bondi testing clinic, as authorities work to identify the source of a mystery COVID-19 case.

"Only the testing over the next few days will tell us how far this virus has spread across Sydney."

Dr Grenfell said the latest outbreak highlighted the importance of vaccination, with even one dose making you "65 per cent less likely to spread the virus".

'Not enough' vaccinated to count on immunity

Ms Berejiklian has said not enough NSW residents have been vaccinated to allow any differentiation in Sydney's new restrictions. 

"This particular strand is extremely contagious and we don't have enough of the population vaccinated to make those distinctions," she said. 

Ms Berejiklian said the NSW government's benchmark for vaccinations was 10 million jabs in NSW. 

"We are nearly at two million, so we are about 20 per cent to where my target it in terms of where we will have these conversations." 

Border closures

Queensland has joined Victoria in slamming borders closed to Sydney's COVID-19 hotspots, throwing school holiday travel plans into chaos.

The border closure applies to the seven LGAs from 1am on Thursday.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the border measures were necessary as Sydney's Bondi coronavirus cluster grew to 21 cases yesterday.

Victoria first declared a large chunk of Sydney a red zone on Tuesday, meaning non-Victorian residents are banned from entering the state and returning residents will need to apply for a permit quarantine at home for two weeks.

It will also be at least three days before quarantine-free flights between Sydney and New Zealand resume.

Exposure sites

Seven eateries and a famed hair salon have been added to Sydney's growing list of COVID-19 close contact exposure sites.

NSW Health on Wednesday ordered anybody at the following venues during the times in question to immediately call NSW Health on 1800 943 553, get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.

June 17-19- Joh Bailey Hairdresser, 7 Knox St, Double Bay, from 8am-5pm on each day

June 18- Tropicana Café (dining in), Darlinghurst, 12pm-2pm.- Matteo Restaurant, 29 Bay St, Double Bay, 5.30pm-7pm.

June 20- Woolworths, Spring Farm, 9.30am-11.30am.- Ikaria Bondi, Bondi, 5pm-7pm- Nandos, Stockland Wetherill Park Shopping Centre, 6pm-7pm

June 21- Lumiere Cafe, 13/425 Bourke Street, Surry Hills, from 1pm-2pm- Bamboo Thai, 298 Chalmers Street, Redfern, 6.15pm-7.10pm- Christo's Pizzeria, 224 Glenmore Road, Paddington, from 5.55pm-8.30pm

The full list of exposure sites and times is available at the .

Source : 9 News More   

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UK denies claims Russia fired warning shots, dropped bombs near British ship

The incident on Wednesday marked the first time since the Cold War Moscow used live ammunition to deter a NATO warship, reflecting soaring Russia-West tensions.

UK denies claims Russia fired warning shots, dropped bombs near British ship

The UK has denied Moscow's claims a Russian warship fired warning shots and a plane dropped bombs to force a British destroy from waters near Crimea in the Black Sea.

"No warning shots have been fired at HMS Defender," the UK Ministry of Defence Office said in a tweet on Wednesday night.

"The Royal Navy ship is conducting innocent passage through Ukrainian territorial waters in accordance with international law."


The Russian Defence Ministry had earlier announced the alleged military action, while claiming the waters belonged to Russia.

The Russian ministry said its warship fired warning shots after the British missile destroyer HMS Defender had ignored a notice against intrusion in Russia's territorial waters.

It said that a Russian Su-24 bomber also dropped bombs ahead of the British ship to persuade it to change course.

The UK instead said it believed the "Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity".

"No shots were directed at HMS Defender and we do not recognise the claim that bombs were dropped in her path," the UK Ministry of Defence said.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace described the British ship's route as a "routine transit" from Odessa towards Georgia across the Black Sea.

"As is normal for this route, she entered an internationally recognised traffic separation corridor," he said, in a statement shared by the ministry on Twitter.

"She exited that corridor safely at 0945 BST (6.45pm AEST).

"As is routine, Russian vessels shadowed her passage and she was made aware of training exercises in her wider vicinity."


Differing accounts of what happened

It's unclear why the countries have issued such differing descriptions of the incident.

The firing of warning shots and dropping of bombs would have marked the first time since the Cold War Moscow had used live ammunition to deter a NATO warship, reflecting growing risks of military incidents amid soaring Russia-West tensions.

The Russian Defence Ministry said it had summoned the UK military attache in Moscow to protest the British destroyer's manoeuvre.

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in 2014, a move that was not recognised by most countries in the world.

Russia has frequently chafed at NATO warships' visits near Crimea, casting them as destabilising.

NATO members Turkey, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria all are on the Black Sea but warships from the US, UK and other NATO allies also have made increasingly frequent visits in a show of support to Ukraine.

HMS Defender, a Type 45 destroyer, is part of the UK Carrier Strike Group currently heading to the Indo-Pacific region.

It was announced earlier this month that it would be temporarily breaking away from the group to carry out its "own set of missions" in the Black Sea.

Russia reportedly used SU-24 bombers to conduct the airstrikes.

Russian criticism of NATO operations

Speaking on Wednesday just before the incident, General Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, sharply criticised the deployments of NATO warships near Russian waters.

"The moves by warships of the US and its allies have been clearly provocative," General Gerasimov said at an international security conference in Moscow organised by the Russian Defence Ministry.

"It creates preconditions for incidents and doesn't help ease tensions in the military sphere."

He charged that the British destroyer Dragon intruded into the Russian waters near Crimea in October, and the US destroyer John McCain violated the Russian border in the Sea of Japan in November.

In April, Russia imposed restrictions on foreign navy ships' movements near Crimea until November in a move that drew strong complaints from Ukraine and the West.

Russia has rejected that criticism and noted that the restrictions wouldn't interfere with commercial shipping.

Earlier this year, Russia also beefed up its troops near the border with Ukraine and warned Ukrainian authorities against using force to reclaim control of the country's east, where a conflict with Russia-backed separatists has killed more than 14,000 people in seven years.

Moscow withdrew some of its forces after sweeping manoeuvres but Ukrainian officials said the bulk of them remained.

Source : 9 News More   

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