Premier's crucial decision as 15 cases confirmed

 

NSW has recorded 15 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hour reporting period.

The locally acquired cases are all linked to the Avalon cluster. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says more than 38,000 people came forward for testing.

It comes after the state recorded 30 new coronavirus cases yesterday, of which 28 were linked to the Northern Beaches cluster while two were under investigation.

Authorities have issued a late night health warning for locations across Sydney as a mad rush to exit the city ramps up today.

Sydney Airport was packed with travellers overnight as people rushed to flee the city. As of Sunday midnight, all states and territories have moved to restrict their borders from NSW residents travelling from Greater Sydney.

Meanwhile, NSW Health announced a new raft of venues that had been visited by confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

Several venues outside the northern beaches area were included such as a Paddington nail salon, Cronulla Mall and a cafe in Darling Point, along with new venues in the area such as Manly Skiff Club and Donny's Bar.

Shoppers at Warringah Mall and passengers on bus route 199 on certain days have also been warned to get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

The federal health minister Greg Hunt says he is "almost certain" that cases will rise in Sydney today as authorities race to save Christmas.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned of stricter restrictions, including on family gatherings, by Wednesday if case numbers kept rising.

All other states and territories including Queensland, Victoria, the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory have changed their border restrictions.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queenslanders who have visited Greater Sydney have until 1am Tuesday to return. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews also declared "red zones" in NSW, barring residents from Greater Sydney and the Central Coast from entering the state in a press conference on Sunday afternoon.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall announced a "hard border" between anyone from the northern beaches area.

Western Australia also reinstated its hard border with NSW from midnight Saturday.

'2020 is not done with us yet'

Scott Morrison says we shouldn't be surprised by coronavirus outbreaks as we head into 2021, and that 2020 isn't done with us yet.

He said that further outbreaks will occur, but the key is how they are dealt with.

"The events of the past few days, I have no doubt, incredibly frustrating and disappointing for people all around the country who had plans in place to get together and move in between states and the restrictions in Sydney have only kept people in the home, very sensible, but I understand it will be disappointing and frustrating because of the disruptions that have taken place," he said.

"And I have no doubt that the premiers feel the same way but the actions that have been taken unnecessary.

"As we look around the world we know what is happening and we know that we have to be cautious and the great gains that have been made at great sacrifice and at great cost the course of this year, we intend to maintain them.

"And that means that in circumstances like this, as we have done so now on many occasions, we need to act swiftly as this is occurring, as the authorities get on top of this and ensure that we can preserve the gains and ensure that we can go into 2021 in a good state.

"The virus, as I have often reminded everyone, it does not go every anywhere, it is still there, it is a global pandemic, and as a result outbreaks will occur from time to time."

 

Andrews apologies for hotel bungle


After a report found no person or agency took responsibility for Victoria's bungled hotel quarantine program, Daniel Andrews has apologised to the Victorian people.

"If I could turn back the clock and receive daily reports on what happens in hotel quarantine as I do now, then, of course, I would," he said.

"If we could have a system of oversight that was, I think, the best in the country back then, as we do now, then, of course, we would put those steps in place.

"But none of us have the ability to change history."

He said lessons will be learned and the failings from the bungle will never be repeated again.

"I want to apologise to the Victorian community for the very clear errors that were made in this program," he said.

"I think that the way in which the program was established, it had to be done quickly. That's the nature of a global pandemic. There is no rule book as such.

"I think decisions about who worked in the program is less an issue. It is more a matter, and the report finds this, the lack of that very detailed oversight, checking, double checking, triple checking, looking very closely everyday at what's occurring in hotel quarantine."

 

Christmas hanging in the balance

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says today's drop in cases is pleasing, but it does not mean that Christmas will go ahead as planned.

She said the key decisions on rules on family gatherings will come on Wednesday morning, because authorities needed to wait until the last possible moment to make a decision.

"Look, unfortunately, one day's results doesn't tell us it's a trend," she said.

"Obviously, we have halved the number of cases overnight, but in a pandemic, there is a level of volatility, so we'll closely monitor what happens obviously to 8pm tonight and we'll be making a final call on Wednesday morning."

However, she said there were promising signs.

"I'm extremely pleased we've had a record number of tests. To have more than 38,000 people come forward in a 24-hour period gives us enormous confidence that the number of cases that have been identified is a realistic position given the number of people who have come forward to get tested," she said.

"However, this is an ongoing and evolving situation and we know how contagious the virus is.

"There could be very well developments in the next few hours which pauses and going back to the number of cases that we've seen in the next few hours.

"I appreciate how frustrating it is, and I would love to be able to tell everybody today what Christmas might look like in New South Wales or the Northern Beaches. But we're not in a position to do that yet.

"And I appreciate the community has been extremely patient, but I also appreciate, I think that the community understands our position.

"We want to make sure that we keep people healthy. We also want to make sure that we reduce that social isolation and don't allow people to have adverse mental health consequences because of what Christmas or New Year's might look like for them."

'As stupid as it gets': Minister blasts pranksters

Health Minister Brad Hazzard has blasted pranksters who are leaving false details at the venues they visit.

"Now, what we are finding is that some of the visitors to various venues still think that it is funny to be caught putting in there that you're Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse or a false phone number," he said.

"That must stop. This is a worldwide COVID pandemic. And thinking it's smart to call yourself Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse is about as stupid as it gets.

"So that must cease. Secondly, businesses who do have QR codes and are using other than the Service New South Wales providers really need to equip themselves now with the knowledge of who they call in the event that they get a call from Health."

 

Five cases linked to hair salon

Of the new cases linked to the Avalon cluster - five cases had been linked to The Salon for Hair at Turramurra.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said that authorities have contacted "the majority of people", but some people provided incorrect or illegible contact details.

"Please prompt your friends and relatives to check whether they attended on those days, follow the advice and get tested immediately and self-isolate if you're one or two people who we haven't managed to track down," she said.

Premier pleads residents to wear masks

After announcing a welcome drop in new cases, Ms Berejiklian has implored Sydneysiders to wear masks.

"And in terms of mask wearing - please make sure, if you're in an indoor setting, obviously on the Northern Beaches it's more paramount, but if you're catching public transport, you need to be wearing a mask," she said.

"If you're going grocery shopping or indoor shopping in a mall or anywhere else, you need to be wearing a mask.

"Indoor settings that Health has already identified, you should be wearing a mask. Particularly if it's a place of worship.

"We already know what the high risk areas are. We know what the high risk areas of transmission are and we ask people to respond accordingly. Don't think that you're immune."

 

NSW records 15 new cases

NSW has recorded new 15 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hour reporting period.

The locally acquired cases are all linked to the Avalon cluster.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says more than 38,000 people came forward for testing.

It comes after the state recorded 30 new coronavirus cases yesterday, of which 28 were linked to the Northern Beaches cluster while two were under investigation.


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