News Coronavirus Premier’s public transport warning amid relaxed virus measures

Premier’s public transport warning amid relaxed virus measures

nsw public transport coronavirus
Making sure public transport is safe is key to coping with COVID-19. Photo: AAP
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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged people to avoid public transport as the state enjoys more relaxed coronavirus restrictions for the first time in weeks.

Pubs and clubs joined cafes, restaurants and places of worship in welcoming back people inside their doors on Friday.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are also permitted, while up to five people, including children, can visit households.

Ms Berejiklian said the number of passengers using public transport had increased steadily in the past week, and NSW’s buses and trains were at capacity in terms of social distancing.

“We don’t want anymore people at this stage catching public transport in the peak,” she said.

“If you’re not already on the bus or the train in the morning, do not catch public transport in the peak.

“We know overseas public transport, unfortunately, was the main reason the disease spread.”

NSW Health authorities in NSW confirmed eight new coronavirus infections on Friday.

Ms Berejiklian said 12,212 people were tested for COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm Thursday, calling that “an outstanding result”.

But Friday’s new infections are the most reported since nine on May 5.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said one of the eight cases was an overseas traveller who flew into Sydney from Brisbane on a Qantas flight on Tuesday, after completing a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

“We are going to be doing contact tracing on the flight, because we do believe they [the man] were infectious on the flight,” Dr Chant said.

The man was on QF 537, which landed in Sydney from Brisbane about 4.05pm on May 12.

Three of the eight confirmed cases were locally acquired, in Dover Heights, Bondi and Penrith.

The state’s death toll remains at 47 and the national toll 98.

Ms Berejiklian reiterated that social distancing remained crucial under NSW’s more relaxed COVID-19 measures.

“Some may even have already started enjoying the new freedoms that come with easing restrictions today but that also comes with personal responsibility, and I can’t stress that enough,” she said.

“Easing restrictions have failed in so many places around the world and I don’t want that to happen in NSW.”

After closing their doors to worshippers in March, Catholic churches in NSW reopened Friday for private prayer, confession and small-scale masses, a statement from the Sydney Catholic Archdiocese said on Thursday.

St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney’s CBD opened at 6.30am with the first of four masses on Friday at 7am.

nsw public transport coronavirus
Father Don Richardson gives mass at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Friday. Photo: AAP

Outdoor equipment, including gyms and playgrounds, with people encouraged to wipe down equipment. Outdoor pools are open with restrictions.

Randwick City Council has reopened its beaches, including Clovelly, Coogee and Maroubra, for recreation. Some ocean pools have also opened.

NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Worboys said police would respond to allegations of breaches but officers would not be counting patrons at individual establishments.

“The responsibility rests, not on the police to check, but on people to actually take accountability for their own behaviours,” he said.

“If we want to move forward as a state, we need to take accountability for our own behaviours and make good choices, good decisions.”

Ms Berejiklian reinforced that view.

“Really, the way we move forward now is up to us,” she said.

“[Social distancing] will be part of our lives until there is a vaccine or cure, we just have to accept that. But we can appreciate our time staying at home in the main has made us all appreciate what matters most.”

-with agencies