No new NSW cases, workers back to office

NSW has again hit 10 consecutive days without a locally acquired COVID-19 case as Sydney workers return in greater numbers to the office.

The zero locally acquired infections in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday were accompanied by three cases found in travellers in hotel quarantine.

Some 6173 tests were recorded in the 24-hour period, while NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty said one COVID-19 patient was in intensive care.

He encouraged NSW residents to seek testing with even mild symptoms.

“With restrictions eased, borders having reopened and Christmas less than two weeks away, it is important we remain vigilant,” Dr McAnulty said.

“Don’t wait to see if your runny nose or sore throat goes away.”

NSW has now marked 10 consecutive days of zero locally-acquired cases since a Sydney hotel quarantine cleaner caught the virus.

Prior to that diagnosis, NSW had gone 26 days without a local case, which prompted the opening of the Queensland and West Australian borders for NSW residents.

Monday’s tally comes as NSW public health orders forcing employers to consider work-from-home arrangements for staff are wound back.

Employers are now able to recall staff to NSW offices if they see fit, which Treasurer Dominic Perrottet hopes will spur productivity increases.

“What I think we’ll see over this time is a combination of people working from home, returning to the city, doing both,” Mr Perrottet told reporters.

“If that increases productivity then that’s a great thing.

‘We want to have as much culture and as much life, particularly over the weekends as well, to bring people back to town.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Transport Minister Andrew Constance have previously pleaded for those returning to office work in central Sydney to wear masks on public transport, but declined to mandate mask usage.

NSW Health on Sunday said in a statement that orders barring entry to NSW to those associated with SA’s Parafield cluster had been lifted. The state is now open to all people in Australia and New Zealand.

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