A new mystery cluster of Covid-19 cases in Australia’s New South Wales continues to grow after 10 new cases were added overnight, according to the NSW Health Department.

The total number of cases related to the cluster from Sydney’s Northern Beaches is now at 28. Health officials believe the source may have been from overseas.

“NSW Health can now confirm the viral genome sequencing of the Avalon Covid-19 cluster does not match the virus strains seen in recent clusters in Australia. The virus is likely of overseas origin,” the health department said in a news release Friday.
“The source of infection is still being investigated.”

Health officials are asking Northern Beaches residents to stay home as much as possible Friday and through the weekend.

“This includes working from home where possible, not visiting friends or family in aged care facilities or hospitals unless essential, avoiding unnecessary gatherings and high-risk venues such as clubs, restaurants, places of worships and gyms, and avoiding unnecessary travel outside of or to the Northern Beaches area,” the health department said.

What we know: The first cases of the cluster were reported Wednesday — the first locally-transmitted cases in the state since December 3.

One case identified from Wednesday was a 40-year-old bus driver who took airline crews to and from their hotels. The health department said the driver’s strain does not match the strain seen in recent clusters in Australia.

“This virus may be of United States origin and linked to international aircrew, however investigations are continuing. No confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been linked to this case,” the health department said.

New South Wales has recorded a total of 4,493 virus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, according to NSW Health.

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