NSW residents can look forward to easing COVID-19 restrictions in relation to open-air concerts and outdoor dining, despite health authorities ramping up calls for more testing.
Up to 500 people will be allowed to attend open-air concerts from Friday, so long as they stay seated and remain four metres apart, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian flagged earlier in the week.
Restrictions for outdoor dining venues will also be relaxed, allowing one patron per two square metres, as long as venues use an electronic QR code to record patrons’ contact details.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said testing had dipped well below the 20,000 daily minimum required – to just 15,802 tests reported to 8pm on Wednesday.
“We really do need the entire community to be with us on this journey,” he said on Thursday.
“COVID-19 is still amongst us. If you have any symptoms at all you must for your sake – for the community’s sake – go get tested,” he said.
NSW recorded 11 new cases – five in hotel quarantine and four local cases that are linked to a known case or cluster, as well as two with no known source.
Three of the new locally acquired cases are linked to the Lakemba GP cluster, which has grown to 15.
One of the new mystery cases is a man in his 70s from Bargo, 100km southwest of Sydney, showing the virus had spread further than the hotspot clusters in Sydney’s west and southwest.
Mr Hazzard said it made it difficult for contact tracers to shut down chains of transmission unless people were honest.
“You need to make sure you tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and be very, very careful in what you’re telling public health officials,” he said.
“We are not interested in any of your personal activities, we are not interested in other legal issues that you might have been involved in.”