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Hell yeah, NSW! For the first time in weeks, we’ve recorded no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.

NSW Health reported seven new cases to 8pm on January 3, but all seven of those were acquired overseas. It’s the first time the state has recorded no new cases of community transmission since December 15, which sparked the Avalon cluster.

There were just 22,275 tests reported to 8pm last night, which acting Premier John Barilaro said was “far too low”.

“My message today is, again, if we’re going to succeed in staying ahead of the COVID pandemic, testing is crucial in large numbers so we can be confident of the data when we’re making decisions as we progress going forward,” he said.

Daily testing numbers should be from 30,000 to 50,000, he added. Residents of western Sydney, south-western Sydney and Wollongong are being particularly urged to get tested with even the mildest of symptoms.

Somewhat confusingly, however, Barilaro said there were two new locally acquired cases recorded past 8pm, which will go in tomorrow’s figures. Both of those cases are related to the Belara cluster.

The Berala cluster originated when a healthcare worker who was transporting returning overseas travellers contracted covid, and then unknowingly passed it on to a close contact, who then visited the local BWS.

the Berala cluster originated from returning overseas travellers and then there was a healthcare worker person who was involved in the transfer of those patients and then that person passed it on unknowingly to a close contact and that close contact went to the BWS.

“Can I just stress that at the time where the person entered the BWS, they had no symptoms and no reason at all to think they had covid infection,” NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

“And it really is important that we all bring that to mind that any time we’re out and about, someone could have Covid and that’s why we need those universal precautions of keeping that physical distancing and the mask-wearing, particularly in those indoor settings.”

It comes as face masks become mandatory for Greater Sydney residents in certain indoor setting, including supermarkets, cinemas, public transport, places of worship and hair and beauty parlours. (Gyms have not yet been pinged, and only staffers at hospitality venues are required to wear a mask.)

Anyone not wearing a face mask (and without a medical condition) will be slapped with a $200 fine.

For more details, head to the NSW Health website.

Image: 9News