News State NSW News Four coronavirus cases linked to Sydney church services

Four coronavirus cases linked to Sydney church services

A woman who attended St Brendan's Catholic Church in Bankstown tested positive to COVID-19. Photo: ABC News/Rani Hayman
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Fifteen new cases of the coronavirus have been diagnosed in NSW ovenight, as fears of a cluster among worshippers in Sydney’s south west were confirmed.

Four cases were linked to a woman who attended a number of Catholic services in Sydney’s south-west last week.

NSW Health sent out a warning on Friday night urging attendees of five services over a four-day period to monitor for symptoms.

The new cases are a couple in their 60s from the north coast and a couple in their 50s and 60s.

NSW Health said those who attended the following services over the four-day period should immediately self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19 regardless of symptoms.

The warning comes after a woman in her 40s from the Fairfield area tested positive on Thursday after attending the services.

Testing is available at Fairfield Hospital, the Fisher Street carpark and a drive-through clinic in Cabramatta.

The fifteen new cases include eight linked to the Thai Rock restaurant cluster, bringing the total to 60.

Of these new cases, all are linked to three Catholic schools in Sydney’s west, which were closed yesterday for cleaning as contact-tracing was underway.

The schools are Cerdon College in Merrylands, Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary School in Bossley Park and Freeman Catholic College at Bonnyrigg Heights.

Two cases linked to Cerdon College were close contacts of a case linked to Our Lady of Lebanon Church.

The other six are contacts of existing cases connected to Thai Rock cases, including one child from the Bossley Park school and another from the Bonnyrigg Heights school.

Six cases among those reported today are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Another case is under investigation.

Health authorities conducted 30,535 tests in the past 24 hours. There are currently 97 active cases of coronavirus in the state, while 51 people have died.

Police crackdown

NSW Police said on Saturday it would fine who attended a DJ party in the Lake Jindabyne alpine area, as people were warned to stick to the latest restrictions that came into force yesterday.

Police operations commander Scott Whyte said there were at least four instances in the past 24 hours of people “acting irresponsibly”.

The incident was “an organised event” of up to 200 people.

Many ran off into bushland once police arrived but those left behind were identified and will be fined.

A woman was arrested and refused bail after being identified at Mount Druitt railway station in Sydney’s west in relation to a breach of a Victorian border-crossing direction.

Police said there were also two instances of households in Auburn and Doonside hosting gatherings of more than 20 people where attendees “will be subject to legal process”.

It comes as police launched what is being tagged a “COVID army” to monitor compliances across pubs, restaurants, cafes and other venues in line with the latest restrictions introduced yesterday.

Alongside police officers, inspectors will be drawn from the Food Authority, Liquor and Gaming, Public Health, Fair Trading and SafeWork departments.

Inspectors will be checking venues both in uniform and undercover, the Government said.

Business will face a $5,000 fine for a breach of a public health order.

On a second offence they will be shut for a week and a third offence will draw a shutdown for up to a month.

NSW Police Minister David Elliott said it was important for people to go out and safely support businesses.

“There are over 250,000 people who found themselves out of work in some of the licensed premises and we don’t want that,” he said.

“That is not in the best interests of the economy and it is certainly not in the best interest of the mental health of our community.

“So, the first line of defence will always be the patrons. They need to make sure that they are doing the right thing.”