Australia

COVID-19 restrictions in place for northern NSW as Byron Bay Bluesfest is called off

NSW has recorded a locally-acquired COVID-19 case – its first in two weeks – with four northern NSW districts placed under new restrictions.

The new case is a man who didn’t attend but is connected to a hen’s party that took place in Byron Bay last weekend and is linked to a number of COVID cases in Queensland.

The new infection in NSW was recorded after 8pm on Tuesday and will be included in Thursday’s figures.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said four shires – Byron, Ballina, Tweed and Lismore in northern NSW – would now be limited to gatherings of 30 and revert to the “four square metre” rule and masks will be mandatory in some settings.

“It is our strong preference – it will not be mandatory but it is our very strong preference – that if you live in any of those four local government areas, that you don’t travel outside those areas,” she said on Wednesday.

“We’re not saying it’s compulsory not to go, but, certainly, we want everybody to be on high alert,” she said.

There were no plans to close the NSW-Queensland border, nor plans to tighten restrictions further, she told reporters.

The COVID-positive man’s household contacts have tested negative.

Ms Berejiklian warned earlier this week that NSW should brace itself for new infections after a three-day lockdown was imposed on Greater Brisbane.

Cases have also been identified as visiting Gold Coast and Toowoomba.

She also urged people in NSW to cancel any Easter holidays to Queensland, warning them they could get trapped there if the Brisbane lockdown was extended.

A number of public health alerts have been issued for venues in the Byron Bay area.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard signed a public health order cancelling Bluesfest on Wednesday, less than 24 hours before it was due to begin.

The festival was due to start on Thursday, and was expected to draw up to 16,000 people per day.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits. 

If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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