New local virus cases in NSW, Queensland

A virus outbreak in Sydney's eastern suburbs is now linked to nine cases, with more testing urged.
A virus outbreak in Sydney's eastern suburbs is now linked to nine cases, with more testing urged.

NSW has recorded three new locally acquired COVID-19 cases as some Sydneysiders were ordered to don masks indoors amid the city's growing outbreak.

Two new local cases were reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, one of which had been revealed by health authorities on Saturday. The other case is a close contact of the previously recorded case.

Another two additional cases in the southern Sydney shire of Sutherland were recorded after the 8pm deadline. They are both close contacts of previously reported cases.

It takes Sydney's eastern suburbs outbreak to nine cases, with the growing cluster prompting new mask-wearing rules.

Anyone shopping, working in hospitality or indoors must wear a mask unless eating or drinking if they live in the local government areas of Randwick, Bayside, Botany Bay, Inner West, City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government would also extend compulsory mask-wearing on public transport in Greater Sydney until Thursday and expand the order to Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas.

Late on Sunday, NSW Health released a list of 27 new exposure sites including a North Face outlet in Drummoyne. More causal sites are in Drummoyne along with others at Castle Hill, Merrylands, central Sydney and Hurstville.

Meanwhile, a flight attendant who tested positive for coronavirus in Brisbane after undergoing the full 14 days of hotel quarantine doesn't have the Delta strain.

The woman aged in her 30s arrived in Brisbane on June 5 on an Emirates flight that also transported a passenger with the more infectious Delta variant.

Authorities suspected she picked up the Delta strain from the passenger but genomic sequencing results confirmed otherwise.

"It's good news the case isn't the highly transmissible Delta variant, but we do still need to take every precaution," Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

She reminded people to isolate if they had visited listed exposure sites including Brisbane's airport DFO, the Brisbane CBD and a Portuguese family centre.

An outbreak of the Delta strain - the dominant variant in India and the UK - led to the recent lockdown in Victoria.

Victoria reported no new local cases on Sunday, with an expert panel ruling two returned travellers who completed hotel quarantine have "historical infections".

Earlier, the Victorian government announced a locally developed mRNA vaccine would become the first in Australia to move to phase one clinical trials later this year.

The Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences-led vaccine candidate has received a $5 million investment to manufacture doses for the trials, with results expected in the first half of 2022.

Commonwealth officials earlier this month told Senate estimates it could take up to four years to build a site to start manufacturing mRNA vaccines like the Pfizer and Moderna jabs.

Acting Premier James Merlino said Victoria had taken a "leadership position" on research and development to ensure the nation doesn't rely on overseas supply, which has crippled the vaccine rollout.

"This virus will be with us for quite some time. We may well need yearly booster vaccines in the years ahead," he said.

Four more Sydney LGAs will become "orange zones" from Monday under Victoria's border permit system, while South Australia has joined Queensland by imposing an immediate ban on travellers from the Waverley Council area.

SA residents or anyone escaping domestic violence can enter, but will still need to self-quarantine for a fortnight.

The West Australian government, meanwhile, is setting up COVID-19 testing clinics at Perth Airport's domestic terminals from Sunday to enforce new conditions imposed on travellers from NSW.

Despite the fresh local cases in NSW and Queensland, Premier Mark McGowan announced restrictions would ease for WA hospitality venues from Wednesday in a move that effectively returns the state to a pre-COVID existence.

Australian Associated Press