NSW records another double-digit spike in local COVID-19 cases

Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow, but NSW authorities remain adamant a lockdown is not needed.

Another 11 locally acquired coronavirus cases have been recorded in NSW today, with Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall believed to be among those.

It’s understood Mr Marshall contracted the virus after dining at Christo’s Pizzeria in Paddington at the same time as a previously reported case linked to the Bondi cluster.

“This morning just after 8am I was formally advised by NSW Health that I had returned a positive test for COVID-19,” Mr Marshall said in a statement.

“I have been in isolation in Sydney since late Tuesday night, when I received a text message from NSW Health”.

As a result, all NSW MPs were this morning ordered to “stay put” until they received an update.

“If you are currently in Parliament House remain in Parliament House,” Government Whip Adam Crouch said in a staetement.

“If you are not in Parliament House, remain where you are”.

Most of the new cases recorded today are fortunately believed to have already been in isolation after being identified as close contacts.

However, there is one case of concern involving a man in his 40s who has not been linked to a known case or cluster.

“Urgent investigations are underway,” NSW Health said.

Another person who attended the West Hoxton birthday party, which has been described by health officials as a “super spreader event”, has also tested positive.

Of the 30 people at the party, 11 have now been infected, with all others tested and currently in isolation.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian admitted authorities are concerned about the unfolding situation.

“Can I say, that since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that New South Wales is going through,” the Premier said.

“Dr Chant and I are of equal view on that. It is a very contagious variant, but at the same time, we are at this stage comfortable that the settings that are in place are the appropriate settings, but that is so long as everybody does the right thing.”

The Premier said her level of concern at this stage is “medium to high”.

The total number of cases linked to Sydney’s eastern suburbs cluster now stands at 36.

More than 48,402 people came forward for testing in the past 24 hours, up on the previous day’s total of 44,640.

Police Tape

Tragic end to search for missing elderly woman in northern NSW

UPDATE @ June 24: A body, believed to be that of a missing elderly woman, has been located in northern NSW.

The 88-year-old woman was last seen at her home on Camden Street in Ballina about 4pm on Monday.

Following a major land and air search of the surrounding area, the body of a woman was found in North Creek River about 7am on Wednesday.

While the body is yet to be formally identified, police say it is believed to be that of the missing woman.

The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be prepared for the information of the Coroner.

EARLIER @ June 23: Police are appealing for help to find an elderly woman who has been missing from northern NSW for two days.

The 88-year-old was last seen leaving a home on Camden Street at Ballina about 4pm on Monday.

It’s understood a community member reported the woman missing to officers, who have been searching for her ever since.

“Police have been told she has not made contact with friends or family members since Monday, which is out of character for her,” NSW police said.

Anyone who sees Margaret or knows of her whereabouts is urged to contact Ballina Police Station on 02 6681 8699 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Major restrictions imposed in Sydney as COVID cluster worsens

Sydney’s COVID outbreak has escalated significantly with a further 16 cases recorded since yesterday, prompting tough and wide-ranging restrictions.

Three extra cases were detected before 8pm last night with a further 13 cases confirmed since then.

Eight of today’s cases contracted the virus at a party in West Hoxton where an infected worker from Bondi Junction had also attended.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a raft of new restrictions but is still resisting a wider lockdown for now.

The restrictions will apply across Greater Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour.

Households will be limited to no more than five visitors, including children.

The one person per four square metre rule will return while patrons will have to be seated in bars and restaurants.

Dancing and singing will be banned, except for at weddings while outdoor seated events will be limited to 50 per cent capacity.

Dance and gym classes will be limited to 20 people but people must wear masks at all times.

Mask wearing will also be mandatory in all indoor settings including workplaces.

On top of that, people who live or work in the Waverley, City of Sydney, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside and Woollahra council areas are being warned to travel outside of metropolitan Sydney unless ‘utterly essential’.

People from outside those councils are also being urged to avoid travelling to those areas.

“We’re not saying you cannot leave your home for any reason in metropolitan Sydney, you can. We are not putting any objections on you leaving the home for any purpose, but if you happen to live or work in those seven LGA is, we don’t want you moving outside of Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian.

“We don’t want spreading to our regions. We don’t want spreading to holiday destinations within New South Wales, at regional New South Wales in particular and I think the vast majority of the public understand that.”

The Premier has so far resisted a lockdown but insists it remains an option.

“I am not going to rule out further action, I am not going to rule out what happens beyond a week, because we don’t know. We certainly didn’t expect this situation a few days ago.

“If we need to take further action within the week or after the week, we are open to that but we just don’t know yet because the situation is evolving.”

NSW records double-digit spike in new COVID-19 cases

New South Wales has recorded 12 new local cases of COVID-19 today, including two which were already announced yesterday.

NSW Health said five cases were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, while an additional seven locally acquired cases came in after the 8pm cut-off.

Premier Gladys Berejeklian said all of the cases, bar one, are directly linked to existing cases.

The one exception is a student at Saint Charles Catholic Primary School at Waverley and the school is in the process of notifying parents,” Premier Berejeklian said.

“I urge parents to wait for instructions from the school because we are keen to make sure that students and parents have access to testing and we want to make sure there isn’t a rush with all parents descending on the school at the same time.”

Authorities are now also asking anyone who was at Westfield Bondi Junction (including the car park) at any time between 12 June and 18 June to get tested for COVID-19.

It comes after it was revealed one of today’s new cases, a woman in her 20s, contracted the virus through “fleeting contact” at the shopping centre.

“Only people with symptoms and those who have been to specific exposure venues at the listed times need to test and isolate,” NSW Health said.

As a result of the spike in cases, the NSW Government has extended the mandatory wearing of face masks for another week, with all of Greater Sydney now included.

“The NSW Government will be extending the existing mask-wearing provisions for an additional week,” the Premier said.

“It will now continue to be mandatory for another week. We will extend it to all of Greater Sydney.”

There are now 21 cases linked to the Bondi cluster.

WATCH: Police hunt three men over alleged kidnapping of cricketer Stuart MacGill

Police investigating the alleged kidnapping of former Test cricketer Stuart MacGill have released images of three men they believe may be able to help with inquiries.

MacGill was allegedly forced into a car outside his home on Sydney’s Lower North Shore in April and driven to a property in Bringelly.

He was allegedly assaulted and threatened at gunpoint before being released about an hour later and dumped in Belmore.

Four men, including the brother of MacGill’s partner have been charged over the incident.

Police are now searching for three more men as part of the investigation.

Footage has been released showing two of the men entering a Bunnings store hours before the kidnapping where it’s believed they purchased items used during the incident.

The first man depicted in the CCTV is described as being of Pacific Islander/Maori appearance, aged between 20 and 25, about 180cm–190cm tall, with a solid build, brown eyes, dark shaved hair in a ponytail and a tattoo on his right hand.

The second man depicted in the CCTV is described as being Pacific Islander/Maori appearance, aged between 20 and 25, about 175cm–185cm tall, with a solid build, brown eyes, short dark hair and stubble.

IMAGE: NSW Police

A COMFIT image of a third man has also been released.

He is described as being of Middle Eastern appearance, aged 25-35, of solid build, with short dark coloured thinning hair and a brown and red coloured beard.

The man was seen driving a white Toyota Camry with a rideshare sticker on the rear and is believed to frequent the Ryde area.

IMAGE: NSW Police

It comes as MacGill spoke publicly for the first time about the ordeal in an interview with A Current Affair, insisting he was innocently caught up in the situation.

“I know that I have done nothing wrong, Maria has done nothing wrong. If people choose to think something contrary to what’s been presented by both myself and the police, then that’s up to them,” MacGill said.

WATCH: CCTV footage released as part of investigations by Strike Force Cain –