Coronavirus cases sink to zero as pubs float opening in Australia’s Sydney

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has recorded a video which sends a strong message to people smugglers about Australia's zero tolerance policy to illegal boats. (AAP). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SYDNEY, May 30, 2020, SHM. No new cases of COVID-19 were reported in NSW for the first time in over two weeks as restrictions at pubs, clubs, restaurants, libraries, galleries and campgrounds ease on Monday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The NSW health department said zero new cases were diagnosed from 9452 tests done on Friday, and just 11 new infections were discovered during the week. Seven came from overseas travellers and four had unknown local sources.

“The virus is likely circulating among people in the community with mild symptoms,” NSW Health Director of Health Protection Dr Jeremy McAnulty said on Saturday. “The risk of outbreaks and a resurgence of cases remains real.”

There are 71 COVID-19 cases being treated by NSW Health, including one person in an intensive care unit who no longer requires a ventilator. The total number of cases detected in NSW was 3092, and 376 of them were still active on Friday.

All passengers from the ill-fated Ruby Princess cruise ship have been contacted by NSW Health after a crew member on the vessel was diagnosed with tuberculosis last week.

A statement from Sydney Local Health District said the risk to other passengers was considered very low.

“For tuberculosis to spread, a person must be in close and prolonged contact with an active carrier, so there is no need for cruise ship passengers to be screened at this time,” the statement said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged people to be responsible and maintain good hygiene as the state’s bars, clubs and other venues begin opening to much larger groups of people.

“As we ease restrictions further, we must remember to keep one another safe,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants can have up to 50 customers but they must be seated, have adequate social distance, and no bookings of more than 10 will be allowed.

Clubs may have as many as 500 patrons spread across multiple venues within their premises, after special clearance was granted by the state government to allow up to 50 people in multiple restaurants and cafe outlets within larger clubs.

Holidaying in regional NSW is permitted from Monday as more caravan parks and camping grounds re-open.

“This is the day we’ve all been looking forward to since the COVID-19 travel restrictions were put in place earlier this year,” Ms Berejiklian said. “I would like to thank everyone for their patience during the past few months of being cooped up at home.”

More than 255 campgrounds across the state will be open by the June long weekend and for the first time, every open campground will need to be booked online or by phone in advance, NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean said.

“We are also reopening many of our cottages and cabins for those who might prefer some swankier digs as accommodation in parks,” Mr Kean said.

Bookings can be made on the National Parks and wildlife service website or by phone: 1300 072 757.

Local travel may further expand to other countries if Australia joins a new “travel bubble” floated by the Greek government, which invited New Zealand and 28 other countries to accept visitors from June 15.

Weddings can have up to 20 guests from Monday, 50 can go to a funeral and 50 can gather at places of worship if there is sufficient space for social distancing.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said coronavirus outbreaks in places of worship and among choirs’ overseas caused the NSW Government to be cautious.

“Sadly, we have seen many congregations of different faiths and denominations affected by COVID-19 overseas,” Mr Hazzard said. “It is vital that people who are unwell stay at home.”

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