Australia

Coronavirus cluster at Sydney's Crossroads Hotel grows to 28 as NSW tightens pub rules

COVID-19 signage is seen at the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney, Saturday, July 11, 2020 Source: AAP

As the number of coronavirus infections linked to the Crossroads Hotel grows, NSW has announced pubs will now have to operate under stricter rules.

The number of COVID-19 cases linked to an outbreak at a Sydney pub has hit 28, with the NSW government tightening restrictions for indoor pubs and hotels.

NSW recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday with two in hotel quarantine, one a contact of a returned traveller and 10 linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney's southwest.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant on Tuesday said since 8pm an additional seven cases have been reported - all of which were linked to the Casula pub. Another case is under investigation.

Of the 28 COVID-19 cases linked to date to the Crossroads Hotel, 14 are people who attended the pub and the remaining are all contacts of those cases.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday said in response to the outbreak there would be a limit of 300 people regardless of size at indoor pubs and hotels and group bookings would be capped at 10 people.

"It has been apparent to us ... we need to take some further action to curtail some of that high-risk activity," Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

"Indoor activity where people aren't seated is a huge health risk because it increases the chance of transmission."

It will be mandatory for pubs and hotels to download and register the COVID-19 safe plan and take down contact details of all patrons.

Venues with a capacity of more than 250 people will be required to have a full-time marshal on site to enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The changes - decided during a meeting of senior government ministers on Monday night - doesn't apply to clubs, restaurants or The Star Casino.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian looks on during a press conference in Sydney, Sunday, July 12, 2020.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian looks on during a press conference in Sydney, Sunday, July 12, 2020.
AAP

The Queensland government on Tuesday, meanwhile, declared the Liverpool and Campbelltown local government areas as COVID-19 hotspots.

Residents of those areas who try to enter Queensland will be barred entry, while Queensland-based visitors will be forced into 14 days of hotel quarantine once they return home.

All patrons of the Crossroads Hotel between 3 to 10 July must self-isolate and are being urged to get tested. Investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection.

Police are working with Liquor and Gaming to investigate if the hotel breached any guidelines.

One of the cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel is a person who visited the Prestons aged care facility which has now been placed into lockdown.

Dr Chant said there was no evidence the virus had entered the facility but authorities are on high alert.

Another case worked at the Kmart store in Casula Mall and the store has undergone a deep clean. The employee and all of his co-workers are self-isolating.

A case confirmed on Monday that was linked to the venue also visited The Star in Sydney on 4 July.

Dr Chant said other venues across Sydney may have been exposed to the virus between 27 June and 10 July after visits from people linked to the outbreak.

These include Picton Hotel, Planet Fitness gym in Casula, Canterbury Leagues Club, Narellan Town Centre and Zone Bowling in Villawood.

Victorian health authorities also on Monday confirmed two residents had tested positive in the southern state after recently travelling to Merimbula on the southern NSW coast.

Residents in metropolitan Melbourne are subject to stay-at-home orders and can only leave home for essential work, study, exercise or care responsibilities. People are also advised to wear masks in public.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

Residents in Melbourne public housing towers who need access to support and assistance should call the Housing Call Centre on 1800 961 054. If you need a translator, first call 131 450. Both services are 24/7. More information can be found here.

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