Coronavirus latest: US extends border travel ban as Canada plans changes to health rules

Australia’s most populous city is on alert on Monday after recording two new locally acquired coronavirus infections, as a cluster in Sydney’s eastern suburbs grows to nine cases.

Alison McMillan, Australia’s chief nursing and midwifery officer, said on Sunday that both new cases are already known as close contacts and are in quarantine. 

“I think it’s really important that we remind everybody that what we’re seeing here with some cases across the country means that Covid-19 has not gone away,” she said. 

A man in his 50s is believed to have caught the virus while shopping at the Myer department store in the suburb of Bondi Junction at the same time as a limousine driver who is believed to be at the centre of the latest outbreak.

The chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, Jane Halton, said NSW was likely to experience tougher restrictions if not enough people came forward for testing.

The Sydney Opera House, usually packed with locals and tourists, is quiet as a new outbreak worries the city
The Sydney Opera House, usually packed with locals and tourists, is quiet as a new outbreak worries the city © Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images

Masks are now required indoors across large parts of Sydney. “All I can do is encourage anybody [with a] sniffle, scratchy throat, anything, [to] get tested,” Halton told the Today show on the Nine network.

Western Australia imposed stricter conditions on all residents of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, while the state of Victoria halted entry from three of its neighbour’s local government areas — the City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra.

All arrivals to Western Australia must be tested for Covid-19 and self-quarantine until receiving a negative result. “The situation in NSW is fast evolving and concerning given the outbreak involves the Delta strain of the Covid-19 virus,” said Mark McGowan, state premier. 

New Zealand has not halted travel from New South Wales over the latest cases. “Health officials met and determined that, at this time, the Covid-19 public health risk to New Zealand remains low,” said Caroline McElnay, director of public health.

The state of Queensland said on Sunday that a flight crew member who has already been in hotel quarantine tested positive.