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NSW parliament declared potential exposure site as cluster grows

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NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro is among those isolating after state parliament was declared a potential exposure site, as Sydney residents brace for more COVID-19 cases associated with the growing Bondi cluster.

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The positive coronavirus result for Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall on Thursday morning threw parliament into chaos, with many of the state’s leaders deemed contacts and hundreds of people potentially exposed.

South Australia remains closed to all travellers from NSW except those who live within 100km of the border between the two states.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian was tested and cleared on Thursday morning, as was Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

However, Nationals leader Barilaro on Thursday night revealed he had tested negative to the virus but had been deemed a close contact.

He will be tested at least twice more, he said, before he is released from isolation at midnight on July 6.

“I will continue to perform my duties as deputy premier while isolating and adhering to all health advice,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

NSW Health on Thursday afternoon warned anyone who visited parliament on Tuesday – state budget day – must monitor for symptoms.

Berejiklian on Thursday warned the state was entering its “scariest” period since the pandemic began.

A total of 11 new cases were announced on Thursday linked to the outbreak that began in Bondi last week that now stands at 36 infections.

All but one of the new cases are linked to a known case or cluster.

Despite widespread speculation that Sydney was on the brink of another lockdown, the premier instead flagged a police blitz to nab anyone defying tough new restrictions announced on Wednesday.

“Since the pandemic has started, this is perhaps the scariest period that NSW is going through,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“It is a very contagious (Delta) variant but at the same time we are at this stage comfortable that the settings that are in place are the appropriate settings, but that is so long as everybody does the right thing.”

-with AAP

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