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Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro with Health Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant and Acting NSW Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon at a recent COVID briefing. Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro with Health Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant and Acting NSW Police Commissioner Mal Lanyon at a recent COVID briefing. Featured


Public health alert for Western Sydney
WESTERN Sydney’s suburbs, Berala and Auburn have been listed COVID-19 hotspots with eight cases, out of Sydney’s 11 new cases prompting Acting Premier John Barilaro to ask residents go for urgent testing.
Anyone who visited BWS bottleshop at Woodburn Rd, Berala and other venues in Auburn listed in the NSW Health public alert are considered close contacts of the eight persons who tested positive to COVID-19 and now in isolation.
Mr Barilaro has also announced the mandatory wearing of facial masks in venues and public places across NSW effective from midnight on Monday, January 4.
As of Sunday, about 2000 people from these suburbs has been contacted by the contact tracing team following identification of eight cases transmitted from BWS.
At 8pm on Saturday, January 2, testing recorded 18,923 persons that came forward, and of the 148 active cases detected, eight were traced from the Berala cluster, Mr Barilaro said.
“Eight of the cases were linked to Berala cluster and NSW Health has advised this is critical information that there has been transmission events that may appear to be very brief exposure at that venue, but irrespective of fleeting visit, we are asking your cooperation,” Mr Barilaro said.
Mr Barilaro also announced a new public health order on facial masks now required for anyone in NSW visiting indoor public places and venues. He urged the public to visit the NSW Health website for a comprehensive listing.
“We are asking people to do the right thing and just use common sense, we are practical and where possible please wear a mask, you’ll be helping us deal with the issue in relation to the transmission of COVID-19 especially on public transport,” Mr Barilaro said. 
Health Minister Brad Hazzard has assured people with pre-existing illnesses such as emphysema, lung conditions and those with disability preventing them from wearing face mask will be excluded from the directive.
“We are thanking those people in the western and southwest suburbs for their cooperation because we clearly have major concerns in the actual number of people who may have been exposed in Berala,” Mr Hazzard said.
“We are asking you to rise to the occasion and get tested if you notice any symptoms and to do more for your community is helping possibly the whole of NSW community.”
The penalty for anyone caught not wearing a facial mask in places and venues where they are supposed to is $200 but police will “use discretion as the key focus is on compliance,” acting NSW Police commissioner Mal Lanyon said.
“Can we ask your compliance to do that and not take offense of that because it’s the only we can keep everyone safe,” Mr Lanyon said.
"Discretion will be carefully advised and if some people may have yet to buy a facial mask, that will also be taken into consideration.”
NSW chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant said the Berala cluster was not linked to the Avalon cluster in the Northern Beaches although the virus transmission was detected from a healthcare worker that transported a patient to a care facility.
While contact tracing of some 2000 persons who visited the Berala BWS bottleshop is ongoing, Dr Chant said, they are also “reviewing CCTV cameras to understand how the transmission occurred.”
Dr Chant said the infected healthcare worker visited BWS so if anyone resides in any of the suburbs within the
Cumberland Council area and have been to the facilities identified by contact tracers, they must be tested even if their visit were “fleeting times”.
The dates of visits to watch out for started on December 20 through to the 31st at various times as listed in the public health alert.
The venues are:  Auburn - Redyard Entertainment Centre, Boating Fishing Camping or BCF, Café Bodrum,  Chicago Jones Coffee & chocolate Maison, Rosnay Golf Club Bistro, Berala – BWS Berala on 22 December through to 31 December 2020, Pure Thai Berala, Woolworths Berala.
For other suburbs and venues visit: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Access News is a print and digital media publisher established over 15 years and based in Western Sydney, Australia. Our newspaper titles include the flagship publication, Western Sydney Express, which is a trusted source of information and for hundreds of thousands of decision makers, businesspeople and residents looking for insights into the people, projects, opportunities and networks that shape Australia's fastest growing region - Greater Western Sydney.