Authorities warn Australians of complacency against Covid-19

Health authorities are warning Australians to remain vigilant even as signs point to coronavirus clusters in the nation’s two most-populous states being brought under control.

New South Wales on Sunday said it detected eight locally transmitted cases in the past 24 hours, compared with seven the day before. The outbreak in the state originated from a cluster originally from the Northern Beaches region of Sydney that spread to other areas of the city, and has now infected more than 150 people.

Neighboring Victoria state detected three new cases in the past 24 hours, its health authorities said on Sunday. The tally is down from 10 new cases recorded the day before.

Australian health authorities have been racing to get on top of the clusters which have disrupted the peak summer holiday period. The nation has managed to largely suppress community transmissions through rigorous testing and contact tracing, by placing restrictions on international arrivals, and through isolating all travelers returning from overseas in quarantine hotels for 14 days.

The Sydney outbreak had spurred the New South Wales government into tightening social-distancing restrictions. From Monday, individuals in Australia’s largest city found not wearing masks in indoor venues such as shops, churches and on public transport will be fined A$200 ($154).

More than 18,900 people in New South Wales were tested on Saturday. Acting Premier John Barilaro on Sunday urged for an increase to maintain the state’s record of success in restricting outbreaks.

Victoria’s virus response commander Jeroen Weimar also urged residents in his state to maintain testing levels, particularly if they had returned from New South Wales after their shared border was closed on Saturday in a bid to contain clusters.

“People need to continue to be alert and aware that this is not over yet,” Weimar said.

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