NSW Health is calling on people in Sydney’s northwest to get tested if they have even mild COVID-19 symptoms, after traces of the virus were detected at a sewage treatment plant in Riverstone.
Fragments of the virus were detected in samples taken on Sunday from the sewerage system that drains parts of Riverstone, Vineyard, Marsden Park, Shanes Park, Quakers Hill, Oakville, Box Hill, The Ponds, Rouse Hill, Nelson, Schofields and Colebee.
Detection of the virus in sewage samples could reflect the presence of known cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in recent weeks in the area.
However, NSW Health is concerned there could be other active cases in the local community in people who have not been tested and who might incorrectly assume their symptoms are just a cold.
In the wake of a widespread easing of restrictions on gatherings announced on Wednesday, it was important people in those areas be aware of symptoms and immediately isolate and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms appear.
NSW has gone 25 days without a local coronavirus case and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant believes the state has probably virtually eliminated community transmission.
A swathe of restrictions will be lifted from Monday, including changing the social distancing recommendation of one person per four square metres to one person per two square metres – except at gyms and nightclubs.
There will be no caps on patron numbers at hospitality venues or at weddings and funerals, and standing in outdoor hospitality venues will be permitted.
Nightclubs can open, with up to 50 people on the dancefloor at a time.
Controlled events will be permitted to have up to 5000 people, while stadiums and outdoor theatres can operate at 100 per cent capacity.
Indoor stadiums and theatres can operate at 75 per cent capacity and choirs of up to 50 people will be permitted to perform indoors.
The government has also agreed to lift the limit on outdoor gatherings – including back yards – to 100 people, in time for Christmas celebrations.