Bondi cluster tally hits 36 as NSW records 11 new COVID cases

VideoNSW records 11 new COVID-19 cases overnight

The number of locally acquired COVID-19 cases in NSW linked to the Bondi cluster has grown to 36 after 11 new infections were announced - including a Government minister.

NSW Health figures show there were 18 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, 13 of which were announced earlier.

There were another six cases detected after the 8pm cut off which will be included in Friday’s official tally.

This means there’s a total of 11 new cases reported on Thursday linked to the outbreak that began in Bondi last week.

Of the 11 new cases, all but one are linked to a known case or the Bondi cluster, with urgent investigations underway into how a man in his 40s caught the virus. He’s the second man in as many days who has contracted the virus from an unknown source.

People leaving the NSW parliament after an exposure alert
Camera IconNSW Parliament has become a rapid virus testing centre, after a minister contracted coronavirus. Credit: AAP

One of the new overnight infections is NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, who confirmed on Thursday that he had tested positive after dining at a restaurant in Sydney’s east 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 on Thursday.

“I’m doing fine and will continue to strictly follow the advice of health authorities.

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

Mr Marshall has been isolating at his Sydney flat since Tuesday night and won’t be able to return to his Armidale home for at least 14 days. His ministerial staff are also in isolation.

He had dined with three of his Nationals colleagues -Trevor Khan, Steph Cooke and Ben Franklin - with all three understood to have tested negative.

The four MPs were in parliament on Tuesday afternoon after attending a partyroom meeting earlier in the day.

Parliament staffers have been told to stay home on Thursday, and MPs inside the Macquarie Street building are undergoing rapid COVID tests.

Government Whip Adam Crouch has instructed MPs to “stay put” until they receive an update.

“If you are currently in Parliament House remain in Parliament House,” he said in a statement.

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

Media and non-essential staff have been told to leave, and get tested.

Just 16 MPs are inside the NSW Parliament on Thursday - just enough to pass the 2021/22 budget handed down this week before the current session is suspended.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.
Camera IconBrad Hazzard is self isolating after being exposed to a person who could have COVID-19. Credit: AAP

Meanwhile, Health Minister Brad Hazzard has tested negative and is out of isolation after being exposed to a potential case at parliament.

Mr Hazzard admitted it “was likely” other MPs could be affected.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns has postponed his budget reply speech due on Thursday.

“All sides agree now is not the time for politics ... we need to get through what is a very difficult health situation in Sydney,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.

Mr Hazzard on Thursday played down fears Sydney was on the brink of a lockdown.

“I don’t believe that we will go into a lockdown,” he told ABC radio.

However, Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned on Wednesday “the NSW government will not hesitate to go further and harder if we have to”.

Meanwhile, school holiday plans are in tatters for many Sydney parents under new travel restrictions.

People living or working in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra local government areas cannot move outside the metro zone unless it’s absolutely essential.

NSW Health has also confirmed fragments of the virus have been detected at sewage plants that service Sydney’s northwest and southern suburbs as well as the Illawarra.

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