A new coronavirus cluster in Sydney has added to fears of a second wave in Australia following the outbreak in Melbourne.
Three pubs in Australia’s biggest city have been closed, with one of them linked to at least 21 cases of Covid-19.
As of 12pm on Monday, the Crossroads Hotel in south-west Sydney was linked to Covid-19 positive tests for 10 people who went there, another 10 close contacts of that group, and one person who contracted the virus third-hand.
New South Wales Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said testing and contract tracing had “allowed us to identify all of these cases and effectively block any further transmission”.
She added: “You can see that when we have some cases that were contacts of contacts of cases, you can see how rapidly Covid-19 can spread, if we do not act promptly.”
She said officials were looking “very hard” to determine the source of the Crossroads Hotel cluster.
“It's a pivotal part of the investigation as to whether these cases can be linked to any travellers from Melbourne because that gives us comfort (that) we are not missing another avenue of transmission,” she told the ABC.
Dr Chant said some the cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel had subsequently, while unaware they had been exposed to coronavirus, attended venues across south-west Sydney, the South Coast and the Sutherland Shire, including The Star casino.
The venue has not been shut down, despite management’s admission that the person attended the venue for three hours on the evening of 4 July, and a A$5000 fine for breaching social distancing regulations.
Another of the three closed pubs, the Picton Hotel, had been visited three times by one person who contracted Covid-19 at the Crossroads.
On Monday, New South Wales police assistant commissioner Tony Cooke attacked what he called the “moronic behaviour of people at dance parties” after local media published footage of large private parties in Sydney's affluent eastern suburbs.
Only a minority of the new cases in New South Wales over the past 48 hours have been travellers from overseas or interstate returning to the state, including two who contracted the virus in Victoria.
In Victoria that same day, 177 new cases of Covid-19 were reported overnight, the first daily total below 200 in three days.
Victorian officials have now tested over one million people in the state, and there are currently 1,612 active cases in the state, including 72 people hospitalised for treatment.
The state's Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, said the decrease was no cause for complacency and the peak may still be yet to come. Of the new cases, 151 are under investigation, 25 are linked to known outbreaks, and one has been detected in hotel quarantine.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire would continue “as long as it needs to”.