New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state reported zero local coronavirus cases for the first time in nearly three weeks.
According to the media reports, the state NSW daily testing numbers have dropped to around 20,000 in the last two days from a peak of about 70,000 recorded on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. The overwhelming majority of tests are in the state capital Sydney.
NSW Acting Premier John Barilaro while talking to media persons said that “The numbers are far too low… if we’re going to succeed in staying ahead of the pandemic, testing is crucial in large numbers so we can be confident of the data when we’re making decisions.”
Moreover, the authorities have imposed mandatory masks in indoor spaces and on public transport from Monday for Sydney’s five million residents or face a spot fine of Australian $200 (US $154).
NSW officials had rejected calls for mandatory face masks since the pandemic started and the change of policy follows the latest Sydney outbreak, which seems to be highly infectious, and ahead of a cricket test between Australia and India in Sydney which is expected to attract 24,000 spectators.
On the other hand, Covid-19 response commander of Victoria, Jeroen Weimar said there was a large number of primary and secondary contacts but “for the stage, we are at, we are where we would want to be on an outbreak of this scale.” Victoria recorded four new cases of coronavirus since Sunday.
The new cases include three previously identified close contacts linked to the Black Rock Restaurant outbreak. These cases were in isolation at the time of contracting Covid-19.