NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has promised to ease COVID-19 restrictions in a week’s time if cases remain low, with the new rules likely to be as close as possible to those in place before the Avalon outbreak.
The state recorded zero locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, the third day in a row without local transmission.
“Please know that if things continue the way they are, by this time next week there will certainly be decisions made around getting us as close as possible to pre-Avalon conditions,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Wednesday.
Testing numbers were up after the government’s plea for more people to come forward. Some 19,959 people were tested in the reporting period, up from 10,621 the previous day.
Three cases were identified, all people in hotel quarantine who had acquired the virus overseas.
The lifting of restrictions depends on good testing numbers and low-to-zero community transmission continuing, the premier said.
Ms Berejiklian said masks were likely to remain compulsory on public transport to give people the confidence they need to return to work safely.
December’s Avalon outbreak caused the government to clamp down on numbers for both indoor and outdoor gatherings in Greater Sydney, the Central Coast and Wollongong.
Restrictions for weddings, funerals and religious services were also bolstered.
Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong residents have also had to wear masks indoors when out of the home for the past few weeks.
Ms Berejiklian singled out weddings on Wednesday, saying she was aware of the angst that restrictions have caused.
“This is the last weekend you’ll have to go through before there’ll be some relief,” she promised aspiring brides and grooms.
The announcement came after Ms Berejiklian chaired a crisis cabinet meeting by Zoom on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile Sydney’s Macquarie University Hospital has confirmed a close contact of a coronavirus case attended the hospital for elective surgery.
An 82-year-old woman allegedly breached her isolation requirements by presenting to the hospital for elective surgery on January 17, 2GB reported on Wednesday.
The woman’s husband, who was himself a close contact of the same confirmed case, reportedly visited the woman at the hospital on several occasions.
“Macquarie University Hospital was made aware by authorities that a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case had attended the hospital,” a spokeswoman told AAP.
“The contact had not disclosed their proximity to the confirmed COVID-19 case and following the disclosure from authorities we took steps to identify staff that may have come into contact with the patient as well as informing NSW Health.”