Australia’s most populous state New South Wales (NSW) on Monday reported zero local coronavirus cases for the first time in nearly three weeks, as Sydney battled multiple outbreaks and authorities urged tens of thousands of people to get tested.
NSW daily testing numbers have dropped to around 20,000 in the last two days from a peak of about 70,000 recorded on Dec. 25. The majority of tests are in the state capital Sydney.
Two COVID-19 cases linked to Sydney’s fresh cluster, centered around a liquor store, were recorded after the daily deadline and will be added to Tuesday’s tally.
Authorities have also imposed mandatory masks in indoor spaces and on public transport beginning Monday for Sydney’s five million residents, or face a spot fine of A$200 ($154).
Australia has largely avoided the high number of cases and deaths from the virus compared with other developed countries, but the latest COVID-19 clusters in Sydney have sparked fears of a wider outbreak.
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