The NSW government will hold a crisis meeting to review the state’s response to a growing number of COVID-19 infections across Sydney, which has so far avoided a lockdown.
The cabinet gathering due to take place at 9.30am on Friday will come ahead of the official release of the latest infections data later in the morning.
So far, there are 36 cases linked to the so-called Bondi cluster that erupted in the city’s east last week.
The coalition government has held off declaring a lockdown, instead preferring to restrict the movements of residents, increase mask-wearing and limit social and other gatherings.
“It’s the detail, the information we have behind the scenes that our expert health officials look at, that gives us the confidence to the make a decision and the advise at this stage is not to lock down,” Deputy Premier John Barilaro told Nine Network on Friday.
“We’ll see what the numbers are like this morning when the crisis cabinet meets again at 9.30am.”
“But the advice could change in the next few hours, and it could change over the weekend.”
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday warned the state was facing its “scariest” period since the pandemic began.
There were 18 new cases recorded from 48,402 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, 13 of which were announced previously.
Another six cases were detected after the 8pm cut-off – which will be included in Friday’s official tally –, for an overall total of 36.
All but one of the new cases are linked to a known case or cluster.
The fast-evolving outbreak spread into Victoria on Thursday,.
While in Sydney the man, who is in his 60s, attended the 30-person gathering in West Hoxton. Eleven people who attended the party have since tested positive.
The man’s 61-year-old boss at Sandringham Dry Cleaners also tested positive on Thursday.
NSW Health added severalincluding two cafes in Potts Point, two cafes in Alexandria and a health club in Bondi Junction to its list of venues of concern on Thursday evening and Friday morning.
Despite widespread speculation Sydney was on the brink of another lockdown, Ms Berejiklian held her nerve but flagged a police blitz to nab anyone defying the restrictions announced on Wednesday.
“Since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that NSW is going through,” she said on Thursday.
“It is a very contagious [Delta] variant but at the same time we are at this stage comfortable that the settings that are in place are the appropriate settings, but that is so long as everybody does the right thing.”
Meanwhile, Mr Barilaro has tested negative to COVID-19 after a virus scare in the state’s parliament.
“I have tested negative, which is a relief,” he told Nine on Friday.
However, the NSW Nationals leader must follow health advice and remain in isolation in Sydney until July 6 and be tested at least two more times.
The NSW parliament was on Thursday declared a potential exposure venue during one of the busiest weeks of the year – budget week –.
Many state MPs were deemed close contacts and hundreds of people working in the building on Sydney’s Macquarie Street this week were at risk of exposure.
Ms Berejiklian was tested and cleared on Thursday morning, as was Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
Parliament House workers were told to stay home on Thursday while a group of MPs underwent rapid testing so they could enter parliament and pass the 2021/22 budget which was handed down on Tuesday.
Lower house Speaker Jonathan O’Dea on Thursday afternoon said no other MPs had tested positive so far, but some were still awaiting results.
With SBS News