COVID-19 NSW live updates: Sydney cluster, Christmas restrictions

COVID-19 NSW live updates: Sydney cluster, Christmas restrictions


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has updated the country on the state’s continued battle with the northern beaches cluster, with an additional nine cases reported on Christmas Day.

Of the cases, six have been linked to the Avalon cluster, with one case a potential false positive. The other two cases included one from  a person who took a flight from Sydney to Griffith and another locally acquired case in Bondi with no link to the Avalon cluster. 

In light of the new cases, Ms Berejiklian said she would not be easing restrictions as the state puts in the “hard yards” to restore normality as soon as possible.

“There are still concerns about the CBD and still concerns about people in the Northern Beaches who may unintentionally have spread the virus without knowing they have it,” she told media.

Elsewhere, a 25-year-old man linked to the Bronte Beach Christmas party has been charged after refusing to comply with a move-on notice from police.

This comes as a crowd of young people, many dressed in Santa hats, were seen chanting and dancing  before they were eventually dispersed by police at about 5pm, Friday.

Lucy Meyer, who witnessed the scene, told there were so many of them, singing so loudly, that she “could still hear them from a 10-minute walk away”.

“There were around 200-300 partying in the grass,” Ms Meyer said.

“A huge portion of the crowd were packed closely together, singing loudly and jumping up and down.

“There were plenty of cops standing around, but they didn’t seem to be doing anything to break up the crowd.

“It’s clearly against public health guidelines, and it puts people at risk at a time when so many Sydneysiders have sacrificed their holiday plans to protect others.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard slammed the group as “ignorant” and said it was “beyond belief” that they would risk gathering in large numbers, and risk spreading the virus, he told the Daily Telegraph.

The outbreak now sits at 127 total cases, 116 of which are associated with the Avalon cluster on the northern beaches.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the state was “not out of the woods” yet. She discouraged people from going into the Boxing Day sales in the CBD today.

Read on for all the latest updates.

Live Updates

Sydney residents will have to wait for the coming days for the official restrictions around New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Although Ms Berejiklian thanked the community and said NSW was making “good inroads,” the state of New Year’s Eve and the first few weeks of January are still unclear.

“There are some basic things I can communicate very strongly today. That is, everybody should assume they’re watching the fireworks from home this year,” she said.

Hospitality venues will also most likely adhere to the “four square metre rule” as opposed to the “two square metre rule”.

“We don’t want to spend a single day or a single hour imposing anything we do not have too, and that is why we’re doing things the way we are,” she said. “We appreciate people have had a really tough year.”

“We’re trying to manage the disease (and) get on top of it.”

Another case has been linked to an outbreak at Paddington’s Alimentari Deli in Sydney’s east.

A young child who ate at the cafe tested positive on December 24, making them the fourth case linked to the eatery.

Dr Chant called for all diners who ate at the cafe from December 17 to 19 to remain in isolation and get tested even if they return a negative test.

“If symptoms arise, (they need) to get retested, and take away customers need to get tested if they develop the slightest symptoms,” she urged.

“We need to be very vigilant as a community.”

Of the nine cases from today, one infection was linked to a person who flew from Sydney to Griffith on Monday 21 December.

Dr Chant said they got on the plane before they knew they were a close contact of a case, stating they “did nothing wrong”.

“We are alerting passengers on that flight that departed to Griffith on Monday 21 December,” she continued.
“There were 28 passengers, and one flight attendant on the flight, which left Sydney at 2:10pm and arrived at 4:20pm in Griffith.
“They are considered close contacts and must self-isolate for 14 days. Anyone who has symptoms (should) get tested immediately, and testing is available at Griffith base Hospital.”

A positive case recorded in the Bondi area is baffling health authorities.

As of yet, the locally-acquired case has no links to the Avalon cluster, with contact tracers taking a “precautionary approach”. It’s believed this case could also be a false positive or an old case and remains under investigation.

Dr Chant called for people to continue testing and said this would be essential on determining the state’s next step.

Despite the positive numbers, northern beaches residents will still be under strict stay-at-home provisions.

The Premier says these will remain for the “next three days, so”.

This means…

Northern part of the Northern Beaches:

“You revert back to the stay-at-home provisions, except if you’re having an outside gathering of up to five people for recreation or exercise purposes. And it will be until midnight on December 30.”
Southern part of the Northern Beaches:

“Again, we revert back to the state home provisions, but you can have outdoor gatherings with 10 people for recreation or exercise reasons, but we do not want any people outside of the household coming into households for the next three days.”
Greater Sydney:

“We revert back to what happened on December 23, so, go back to no more than 10 people in your household.”

Ms Berejiklian said there is room for encouragement as six of the eight cases linked to the Avalon cluster have been linked to the same household.

“Six out of those eight actually lived in the same household. The other two are deemed to be close contacts to where the disease was transmitted,” she said.

Despite this, she said there is still cause for concern.

“There are still concerns about the CBD and still concerns about people in the Northern Beaches who may unintentionally have spread the virus without knowing they have it.”

Speaking to media NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said nine new infections have been recorded in NSW.

This includes

– Eight were linked to the northern beaches cluster. Including six household contacts and two close contacts

– One could be a false positive.

Northern beaches MPs Jason Falinski and Zali Steggall have supported the state government’s decision to not legally enforce mask wearing.
Speaking on ABC 24, Mr Falinkski said it was better to “treat your people like adults and not inmates”.
“What seems to have worked in New South Wales as opposed to other jurisdictions around the world, is if you treat your people like adults and not inmates is you get far better buy-in for the measures you are taking,” he said. “If this wasn’t working, I’m sure the New South Wales government could be moving from a setting of suggestion to one of mandatory.”

Also appearing on the program, Ms Steggall agreed.
“I do feel we are striking the right balance between enabling people to do the right thing without becoming a complete police state. I think we do need to entrust people to do the right thing.”
In comparison, Victorians are still required to wear masks. State mandated directives state people must carry a mask at all times when they’re out of the home, unless they have a reason not to. Masks must also be worn on public transport, taxis and rideshare vehicles, as well as when inside shopping centers, retail stores, indoor markets, and supermarkets.

Queensland has reported zero new locally acquired cases with just one overseas case of COVID which is in hotel quarantine.

In the past 24 hours the state administered 1945 tests and currently has 11 active cases.

Saturday, 26 December – coronavirus cases in Queensland:

• 0 new locally acquired
• 1 overseas acquired – in hotel quarantine
• 11 active cases
• 1,241 total cases
• 1,460,171 tests

Sadly, six Queenslanders with COVID-19 have died. 1,217 patients have recovered.#covid19

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) December 25, 2020

with Blake Antrobus

A 25-year-old man will face court after he allegedly refused to comply with a move-on notice at a Christmas party held at Sydney’s Bronte Beach.

Hundreds of people were seen chanting and dancing on the sand and park area before riot police swooped in about 3pm.

However they will allege a 25-year-old didn’t listen and he has been issued with a court attendance notice for failing to comply with the move-on order.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard blasted the actions of the revellers and said it was “beyond belief” the event happened as Sydney battled to contain the northern beaches outbreak.

“I get the desire for youthful Christmas exuberance, but this is as irresponsible, ignorant and idiotic as it gets,” he said.
“It’s a massive potential COVID-19 incubator.”

Cases in Sydney currently stand at 118 with 108 of them linked to the Avalon cluster.

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