5 new cases of COVID-19 linked to Northern Beaches, restrictions continue

People lined up for testing at the COVID-19 testing facility at Wollongong Hospital. Picture: Robert Peet
People lined up for testing at the COVID-19 testing facility at Wollongong Hospital. Picture: Robert Peet

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced current restrictions imposed on parts of Greater Sydney, Sydney and the Northern Beaches will remain in place for days to come, due to too many active cases of COVID-19 in NSW.

The premier also cancelled plans to allow frontline workers to congregate around the foreshore around the Sydney Harbour Bridge to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks - while everyone's been told to stay away from the CBD unless you live there.

Outdoor gatherings for Greater Sydney - currently including Wollongong - have been reduced to 50 people, while indoor gatherings allow for 10 visitors (children included) and will be reconsidered on January 9.

The state recorded five locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday night, with an additional nine cases in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Four of the locally acquired cases were linked to the Avalon cluster. Investigations continue into the source of this cluster, which now numbers 126.

The fifth local case is linked to a previously reported case on the Northern Beaches whose source of infection remains under investigation.

All five locally acquired cases reported today had previously been identified as contacts of known cases and were in isolation.

This brings the total number of cases in NSW to 4,683 since the beginning of the pandemic.

There were 15,364 tests reported to 8pm Sunday night, compared with the previous day's total of 23,933.

Meantime, a man aged in his 70s died earlier this week from respiratory complications following a COVID-19 infection diagnosed in March.

Although his death was considered to be related to the virus, he had recently tested negative and was no longer infectious.

COVID-19 cases linked to the Avalon cluster have visited a growing list of locations across Sydney. A full list of venues and public transport routes, and the associated public health advice, is available from the NSW Government website at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates.

With a number of cases now linked to the Belrose Hotel, NSW Health is calling on anyone who spent time there at any time during December and had any symptoms that could signal COVID-19 to come forward and get tested, then isolate until a negative result is received.

A number of cases were recently linked to the CBD of Sydney, and it is important for people who spent time in the north eastern part of the city over the last two weeks, including the Australia Square, MLC Centre and Chifley Square, to be alert for symptoms and isolate immediately and get tested should even the mildest of symptoms develop, then isolate until a negative result is received.

For a full list of locations where positive cases have been, visit the NSW Health website.

RESTRICTIONS:

For New Year's Eve Celebrations:

  • The CBD frontline worker fireworks vantage point offering is cancelled. Frontline workers will be offered another opportunity in 2021.
  • Hospitality venues will remain open but must adhere to the one person per four square metres rule.
  • Council events may continue but they must be controlled and seated with no mingling, and record keeping requirements must be strictly adhered to.
  • A short, seven minute fireworks display will continue at midnight.
  • Unless you have a New Year's Eve Pass through Service NSW, you will not be able to enter designated zones around Circular Quay, North Sydney and the City.

For Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong the following rules apply:

  • Gatherings in the home remain at 10 visitors in total (including children).
  • Outside gatherings (such as picnics) will be restricted to 50 people in total (down from 100).

For the Northern Beaches peninsula zone (North of Narrabeen Bridge, and east of the Baha'i Temple), the following rules apply until January 9:

  • The health situation remains volatile and the current restrictions will remain in place to supress community transmission.
  • However, indoor and outdoor gatherings will be allowed for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day but will be restricted to five visitors in total from within your zone (and includes at homes).
  • Current arrangements allowing five people to gather outdoors (not at homes) for exercise and recreation, from within the same zone, continues.
  • No restaurants, cafes, pubs or clubs (except for takeaway) will be permitted to open, including for New Year's Eve.

For the remainder (southern zone) of the Northern Beaches, the following rules apply until January 2:

  • The health situation remains volatile and the current restrictions will remain in place to supress community transmission.
  • However, indoor and outdoor gatherings will be allowed for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day but will be restricted to 10 visitors in total from within your zone (and includes at homes).
  • Current arrangements allowing 10 people to gather outdoors (not at homes) for exercise and recreation, from within the same zone, continues.
  • No restaurants, cafes, pubs or clubs (except for takeaway) will be permitted to open, including for New Year's Eve.

For regional NSW there is no change to current arrangements.

This story 5 new cases of COVID-19, restrictions remain unchanged for Greater Sydney first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.