Residents across New South Wales are being urged to start wearing masks in certain situations amid growing concerns about community transmission of COVID-19.
It comes as the state reported 12 new cases on Sunday, including two childcare workers in Sydney’s west where officials have been unable to trace the source.
One patient worked at the Advanced Early Learning Centre at Merrylands on July 27,28 and 29 while infectious with the centre now closed for deep cleaning.
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A second worker at the centre has since been diagnosed as well.
Three further cases have been linked to the Apollo Restaurant at Potts Point on July 25, while a further two have been connected to Mounties at Mt Pritchard on July 23.
Five of the new cases are linked to known cases while one is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.
Officials have also issued alerts for Canterbury-Hurlstone Park RSL after a previous case attended there on the evening of July 27.
An infected person also attended the Toronto Drug Court in Newcastle on July 27.
Anyone who was in either location is urged to monitor for symptoms and immediately get tested if they start feeling unwell.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has today urged people in high-risk areas to consider wearing masks from now on.
That includes in enclosed spaces where people can’t guarantee social distancing, on public transport, supermarkets, places of worship, hospitality workers and those who live in areas where there is high levels of community transmission.
“Wearing a mask is the fourth line of defence, the first line of defence is that if you even have the slightest symptoms, or you have been asked to get tested, get tested and stay isolated for 14 days,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“You have to keep up social distancing, you have to keep up your hand hygiene. These are things you need to do regardless of whether you are wearing a mask or not under the mask is actually the next line of defence. It shouldn’t replace any of those other things.”
New South Wales Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says mask-wearing is not compulsory but is highly recommended in those circumstances.
“We want people to get out and about and enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having at moment so, please, this is a time to maintain your social distancing when you are out and about,” Dr Chant said.
“You do not necessarily have to wear a mask when you’re out and about but if you know you are going into a situation where you could not maintain that social distancing we encourage you to wear a mask.”