“It’s fair to say that the situation in Sydney is right on the edge in Christmas,” Dr Moy told News Corp.“On the plus side is great contact tracing, that QR codes have helped, and that most cases are linked and localised to Northern Beaches, and no one is turning in hospital up really sick from COVID,” he said. However he warned “gaping holes in information regarding the initial source of the infection” and the possibility that there are other chains of infection propagating unchecked now was deeply concerning.The border closures by other states is an indication of their level of worry, and it is likely that states such as SA would have gone for a quick lockdown as they did recently and which proved effective, he said.“This “hard and fast” or “pay now” approach worked in SA in contrast to the lesson of Victoria which “paid later” in that the failure early decisive action cost them a prolonged lockdown,” he said.“One remains hopeful that the better systems in NSW will work, but there is some chance that control will be lost across greater Sydney and there will be Christmas regrets about not making a more decisive call,” he said.
It comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned COVID-19 outbreaks will “continue to occur”, as he urged those who had been to Sydney’s Northern Beaches recently to isolate no matter where they are in Australia.“The outbreaks are things that are going to continue to occur and while great care is taken all around the country, then we can never fully rule out that an outbreak might occur at some point in time,” Mr Morrison said.“In this case [the case of the Northern Beaches outbreak], what we are seeing is both great co-operation, as we have seen in other places before, but the geography I have to tell you is helping this as well. “Those of you who know Sydney well know that the peninsula is a very cohesive community that tends to keep to itself… and that is certainly I think assisting in making sure that the Avalon [in the Northern Beaches] outbreak is staying exactly where it is.”Mr Morrison said no matter where people were in the country, the “rules about isolation apply equally to you as they do to those of your neighbours who are back in Avalon and the Northern Beaches right now”.A stay at home order is currently in place for residents (whether temporary or permanent) of the Northern Beaches between Thursday, December 12 and Saturday, December 19 at 5.02pm.It applies if a person has still in the area, or has left and is now somewhere else.They must stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse, such as shopping for food, medical care, exercise, or work or education if it cannot be done at home.He said the community response, which saw 38,000 people turn out for COVID-19 tests yesterday was “very encouraging”, and praised “the speed at which the New South Wales authorities have been able to get on top of this and understand the extent of the community transmission”.On the COVID-19 vaccine, Mr Morrison said there were still no plans to give emergency approval to a treatment and he would not put Australians’ “health at risk in the way that we manage with the approval and deployment of the vaccine”.“It must be safe, it must follow all of those rules,” Mr Morrison said.NSW RECORDS MORE CASESNew South Wales has recorded 15 new cases of COVID-19 since 8pm last night – all are linked to the existing northern beaches cluster.That is down from 30 new cases recorded yesterday.NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state had a record day of testing.“More than 38,000 people came forward to get tested, so thank you so much to everybody who did that,” she said. Ms Berejiklian said some who contracted COVID-19 did visit venues “outside of the northern beaches”, so there is some risk of spreading.But she said it is “pleasing” that today’s cases are “a reduction on the previous day’s numbers.”She said the lockdown placed on the Northern Beaches, due to expire on Wednesday night, will be considered on Wednesday morning.NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said while authorities had a focus on virus cases in the Northern Beaches, it was important “we have no complacency across the Greater Sydney region, but in particular, that complacency must not exist across the whole of New South Wales.”
Dr Chant said aged care facilities were considered “particularly vulnerable” and had been asked not to accept visitors until Wednesday.NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard slammed those recording fake contact details on QR code forms.Wat 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,” Mr Hazzard 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.”Ms Berejiklian said it was vital that all venues had QR codes in place, or at the very least, “really good record keeping”.“We’re asking everybody… do not let anyone physically into your premises… do not let anyone into your door unless you have a good record of what time people came in and what time they left,” she said.“Otherwise, Health [contact tracers] can’t do their job and we risk Christmas and the New Year period if we don’t do the right thing.”Dr Chant said health authorities would be looking at whether the virus had spread outside the Northern Beaches before another restrictions-related announcement was made on Wednesday.Quizzed over whether face masks should be made mandatory, Dr Chant said “we are considering at all times additional measures that need to be in place.”She said health authorities were “particularly concerned” about indoor venues, and urged people to wear a mask if attending one.
Ms Berejiklian asked other states and territories to have a “proportionate response” that was “based on facts” in relation to their borders with NSW.“The various premiers have made various decisions about borders but I ask people to think about things compassionately and base it on the facts,” she said.“For example, when we closed, and the only time that New South Wales has closed the border to anyone was Victoria. Their case numbers were more than 140 before we took that decision, and it was subsequently and then up to 180.She added: “And I use that fact to put things into perspective. Yes, of course, I’m concerned by what’s happening in New South Wales. But every response has to be proportionate to the risk. “And all I’m saying to colleagues around the country is – please think about the heartbreak and please think about the facts when you’re making these decisions, because it impacts so many people. It impacts not just people in New South Wales, but people in your home states that may not have been reunited with family or friends or significant others for a long period of time.”NSW Health is yet to find the original source of infection that lead to the Northern Beaches outbreak.NSW FACES ‘MOTHER OF ALL SUPER-SPREADING EVENTS’Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve will be the “mother of all super-spreading events” in NSW, a leading epidemiologist has warned, as the Northern Beaches cluster grows to 83.UNSW Professor Raina MacIntyre is urging the NSW Government to lockdown Sydney if the infection rate doesn’t drop today.She said people who are infectious and don’t know it pose the biggest danger as one infectious person can transfer the virus to about three others. “So if we have 40 new cases on Monday that’ll be 120 new infections that those people pass on by Christmas Day,” UNSW Professor Raina MacIntyre told The Australian.If they have lunch or dinner with family and friends they will in turn infect 360 people. Six days later, on New Year’s Eve, those 360 people will be out partying at the peak of infectiousness.“That 360 cases becomes over 1000 cases on New Year’s Eve, so by the end of the first week of January we could be looking at 3000 cases,” she said.
The entire city needs to go into lockdown immediately or face disaster.“New Year’s Eve is going to be the mother of all super-spreading events because the people who get infected on Christmas Day are going to be at their absolute maximum infectiousness on New Year’s Eve,” Professor MacIntyre warned.“That’s a disaster waiting to happen.”UNSW epidemiologist World Health Organisation advisor Mary-Louise also told ABC News Breakfast on Monday she backed calls to cancel New Year’s Eve celebrations.“Hard ring fencing [of the Northern Beaches], not light ring fencing, of not allowing anyone else without a rapid point of care test even if they’re essential services might be able to prevent Christmas from being an accelerator, but certainly New Year’s Eve, sadly, should be cancelled this year,” she said.Almost all coronavirus cases in the latest NSW outbreak have been linked to two events in Avalon on the Northern Beaches last week. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said health authorities were still investigating how the virus spread from the US to the Northern Beaches.“We know a woman got off a flight from Los Angeles on 1st December,” he said. “She went straight into hotel quarantine but her genomic sequencing indicates it is extremely close to the strain of the virus that is circulating on the Northern Beaches.“She is certainly a person that we have got to look more closely at. “How could it have possibly got from her to the beaches when she is still in a quarantine hotel? “It is a human system.“People have to accept this is a human system and if someone picked up a bag by mistake and then put it down, it could be anything that she might have handled. “It just could be anything at all on that front. We don’t know the answer at this point.”
NED-1859 State of our borders
FLIGHTS CANNED AS BORDERS SHUTQantas and Jetstar will be cancelling a large number of flights today after many travellers cancelled trips due to border closures over Sydney’s COVID-19 cluster on the Northern Beaches. In a statement from Qantas online, it states it saw a surge in bookings for flights between Sydney and Melbourne yesterday. “Other routes including Sydney-Brisbane and Sydney-Adelaide are also nearly at full capacity,” it stated.“Both airlines have seen large numbers of customers cancelling their bookings between Sydney and Melbourne and a number of other routes from Monday onwards. “A number of flights will be cancelled as a result. We’ll be contacting customers directly impacted by any flight changes.”Qantas stated it has offered customers extra flexibility when they book, with the ability to hold the value of the ticket as credit or change their flights once with no change fee – though, a fare difference may apply when re-booking.“We are seeing a high level of inquiry from customers travelling to and from Sydney looking to change their travel plans, so we’d ask anyone not travelling in the next 48 hours to please avoid calling our contact centre to help us manage these volumes,” it stated.
The news comes as Greater Sydney has been declared a hotspot by the Queensland government. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the move on Sunday, telling Greater Sydney travellers, “please do not come”. Ms Palaszczuk asked Queensland residents currently in Greater Sydney to return before 1am tomorrow, where a COVID-19 test and quarantine will be required. The Premier also requested any travellers who had returned from Greater Sydney in the last week to present for testing. The government also issued a stern warning to Queensland pubs, clubs and cafes after contact tracers were met with illegible check-in information from the Glen Hotel, where a positive case visited. ”You have 72 hours to get your house in order … People have had months to get their house in order. We must be able to contact trace at any point in time,” Ms Palaszczuk said.Businesses now have until midnight on Wednesday to ensure QR codes or electronic check-ins are in place. Ms Palaszczuk said any businesses failing to use the measures would be required to return to the rule of one person per four square metres and have no standing patrons. “I’m not going to allow anything to destroy our incredible effort,” Ms Palaszczuk said.Earlier in the day, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced his government was not confident the situation in NSW remained safe, while the Berejiklian government refuses to impose mandatory mask rules and stay-at-home orders across Sydney.All of Greater Sydney and the Central Coast will be declared a “red zone”, while the Northern Beaches will be deemed a “hot zone”.Nobody from or who has visited those parts of Sydney will be allowed to travel to any part of Victoria.
“If you do arrive back or travel here you will face 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine,” Mr Andrews said.Victoria recorded two new cases of coronavirus within hotel quarantine yesterday.South Australia has closed its border with Greater Sydney from at midnight last night. Anyone who has been to Sydney’s Northern Beaches will now not be allowed to fly into SA. Travellers from the Greater Sydney area must complete a COVID-19 test and quarantine for 14 days. The state recorded three new cases of coronavirus yesterday, all overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.NSW CLUSTER GROWSNSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the cases were contracted through community transmission in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday.“We have not seen evidence of massive seeding outside of the Northern Beaches community,” she said.Restrictions have been expanded for the Greater Sydney area and will be in place until midnight on Wednesday.No more than 10 people will be allowed in a home and the city will also revert back to the four square metre rule in all indoor settings.
Of the new cases, 28 are linked to the Northern Beaches cluster that is believed to have spread from Avalon RSL and Avalon bowling club last week.The source of two cases is under investigation, but the patients are residents of the northern beaches.Western Australia also put up its hard border again, banning anyone coming from NSW. Premier Mark McGowan said NSW had moved to a “medium risk state”, and the increase in the Sydney COVID-19 cluster on the Northern Beaches had forced his government’s hand.The hard border kicked in again last night. He said this was “not what anyone wanted before Christmas”.
Mr McGowan said he wasn’t “pointing the finger” at NSW, but urged NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to get the virus under control for the sake of the nation.“I know the changes are going to be hard for many people. This is not an easy decision to make,” he said.“NSW needs to get it under control. They need to stop the virus in NSW.”Mr McGowan said the changes had been made on the advice of the state’s chief health officer and also encouraged Western Australians not to travel to Sydney.Australia’s Acting Chief Medical Officer hopes the states and territories will have a “proportionate” response to their borders with NSW as the Sydney COVID-19 cluster grows.Dr Paul Kelly said the federal government had labelled Sydney’s northern beaches, where the virus cluster is growing, a hotspot and welcomed other states’ moves to do the same.He reiterated states and territories had jurisdiction over their borders but hoped their responses would be “proportionate” as Christmas nears.“They are the elected governments of those states and they need to make the decisions about safety for their own states by themselves. I would hope they will make that a proportionate thing in the lead-up to Christmas,” Dr Kelly said.
The growing Sydney COVID cluster has changed every state’s rules on how you can travel right before Christmas. This is how it affects you.
VICTORIAVictoria closed its border to Greater Sydney and the Central Coast at midnight last night.If people from those areas who are not Victorians enter the state today, they will be placed into 14 days of mandatory hotel quarantine.Victorians are being told not to travel to Sydney. If they do, they will have to enter mandatory hotel quarantine for two weeks. For Victorians returning from greater Sydney, they have until midnight tonight to return to the state to be able to do self-quarantine at their homes. They will also need to be tested with A “traffic light” system of three different zones now exists where those from the Northern Beaches are in the “red zone”, and cannot enter without going into quarantine.Anyone from the rest of NSW are in the “green zone” and can enter without restrictions.
SOUTH AUSTRALIASouth Australia also closed its border with Greater Sydney last night. Anyone who has been to Sydney’s Northern Beaches can now not fly into SA. Travellers from Greater Sydney area, the Wollongong, or the Central Coast LGA will be required to quarantine for 14 days and complete a COVID-19 test on days one, five and 12.Anyone else entering South Australia from NSW will require a COVID-19 test on days one, five and 12. These people will not be required to quarantine, but must monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolate and seek another test if they become unwell.
NSWRestrictions have been expanded for the Greater Sydney area and will be in place until midnight on Wednesday.No more than 10 people will be allowed in a home and the city will also revert back to the four square metre rule in all indoor settings.Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in the Northern Beaches area, from 5pm Saturday until 11.59pm on Wednesday December 23, residents of the Northern Beaches local government area must stay home unless it is for an essential reason.The four reasons you may leave your home include:• Shopping for food or other goods and services• Medical care or compassionate needs• Exercise• Work or education, where you cannot work from homePeople should only enter the Northern Beaches LGA for essential purposes.Residents across greater Sydney should also limit unnecessary activity in coming days as broader restrictions are considered.Those with any symptoms at all must come forward and get tested.Everyone in Sydney is being urged to monitor for symptoms and wear a mask when outside.
QUEENSLANDGreater Sydney has been deemed a hotspot by the Queensland government.Premier Palaszczuk asked any Queenslanders currently in Sydney to return home immediately, and any Queenslanders who recently returned from Greater Sydney to present for COVID-19 testing immediately, and could be required to quarantine. Health Minister Yvette D‘Ath said 11 people had been tested and asked to isolate after Queensland recorded no new cases overnight.“New South Wales has advised us that there are 11 people in Queensland who are close contacts with positive cases from the Northern Beaches,” Ms D’Ath said.“These 11 people have been contacted by Queensland Health, have been asked to be tested and have also gone into self-contained (quarantine).”These rules apply to visitors and returning Queensland residents.
NORTHERN TERRITORY The Northern Territory has declared the Northern Beaches local government area a hotspot.Anyone planning to come have been advised to cancel their travel. Those who have been in the Northern Beaches in the 14 days before they arrive must enter supervised quarantine, in either Alice Springs or Darwin, and pay $2500 per person.That includes returning residents.
TASMANIATasmania has also declared the Northern Beaches local government area a hotspot. People from this area are not permitted to enter Tasmania.Anyone who is already in Tasmania and has been in the Northern Beaches on or after December 11 must immediately self-isolate.ACTThe ACT has no border restrictions but those who were in the Northern Beaches area from December 11 need to immediately self-isolate and get tested. WESTERN AUSTRALIAWestern Australia reinstated its hard border as of Sunday night for NSW. No one can travel there unless they are one of the following: * active military personnel* a Commonwealth MP* a senior government official* anyone who works in transport, freight and logistics* anyone given approval by the state emergency co-ordinator* those who have a compassionate reason – including those who travelled recently and need to returnEach person’s case here will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.Those who were in NSW since December 11 and arrive must go into hotel quarantine for 14 days.Those already in WA but came from NSW since December 11 must get tested and self-isolate until they get a negative result.