Australia’s coronavirus record broke with 16 new cases today, 10 in NSW and 6 in Victoria.
Ten cases of the new virus have been revealed in New South Wales, with five linked to the northern coast cluster.
Three are linked to a new outbreak developing in Croydon after several members of the same family tested positive yesterday, sparking fears of the virus spreading across Greater Sydney.
“One is a link to the transport worker cluster that we have previously discussed and another is under investigation,” said NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian.
“It’s possible it’s an old case or a false positive but serologists are looking at that.”
Meanwhile, Victoria has recorded six new cases, with the state returning to harsh restrictions within hours in a bid to stop the spread.
Authorities in both states have appealed to the public to avoid New Year’s celebrations tonight amid fears that it could lead to a “supersebar” event, and have urged the public to take the current threat seriously and follow public health advice.
In response to the outbreak, Sydneysiders, and those in the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong, were only allowed five visitors for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard lashed out at comments made by Australian WA Medical Association president Dr Andrew Miller who said NSW was no longer the gold standard and the lockdown “won’t go very far”.
“If the president (WA) of the AMA has any particular views, I leave it to him in WA. He must be an instant expert on what is happening here in NSW,” he said.
“I am delighted to continue working with our health authorities who have done an extraordinary job.”
There were 18 cases yesterday, with nine of them linked to the north coast outbreak.
NSW Health is still unclear about the origins of the Croydon cluster, but Dr Kerry Chant said he expects the results this afternoon.
Sharing more details about the Croydon cluster, Dr Chant said members in the three households associated with the original cluster had attended “a number of events” that took place between Christmas and Boxing Day.
These cases also exist in the community even though they are unwittingly contagious, although it is still “too early” to know whether transmission has occurred as a result of this.
“So that means, and I’m very sorry for this, but your New Year’s Eve plans must change,” he said.
Dr Chant continued to emphasize the importance of testing and appealed to NSW residents not to attend meetings of any kind if symptomatic.
“Please may I submit a request not to attend family events, family gatherings, New Year’s Eve gatherings, going in and out, if you have symptoms,” he said.
“I think we want everyone to see a much brighter 2021 and we have hope on the horizon when it comes to vaccines.
“We all have a role to play. So thank you for following that advice.”
Victoria’s case is on the rise
Three additional cases of Covid-19 have been found in the community in Victoria to bring the total number to six, Acting Prime Minister Jacinta Allen said today.
He said three additional cases were found through contact tracing after three positive cases were found in Victoria yesterday.
The first three cases were linked by a Thai restaurant in Black Rock that was also linked to a traveler returning from NSW, Health Minister Martin Foley said.
“In less than 24 hours, the cross between Mitcham and Hallam and the Mentone people has become a facility in Black Rock, and a direct link to travelers returning from NSW,” he said.
“Now that we have a connection with the NSW outbreak here in Victoria, we are responding very, very quickly to get it out.”
Three additional cases today were linked to the cluster and were found through contact tracing, he said.
Anyone who visited the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant on December 21 was urged to get tested immediately.
The first three cases came from the Melbourne suburbs of Mitcham, Hallam and Mentone – all of whom visited the same place in Black Rock.
Victoria’s Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said the state was “deploying our full outbreak approach”.
“We’ve been in this position before,” he said.
“Extensive contact tracing is being carried out and as a result there are currently more than 40 close primary contacts supported for immediate isolation.”
He said the three positive cases were self-isolating at home.
They are two women in their 40s and a woman in their 70s.
Five locations have been designated as high risk, having been visited by people who tested positive for COVID-19 while potentially transmitting:
• Black Rock: Smile Buffalo Thai Restaurant on December 21st
• Doveton: Holy Family Parish Catholic Church of Doveton on December 26 between 4pm and 6pm
• Fountain Gate Shopping Mall: Kmart, Big W, Target, Millers, King of Gifts, Lacoste on December 26 between 9am and 11am
• Mentone: Mentone / Parkdale Beach on December 27 between 10am and 4.30pm
• Glen Waverley: Century City Walk and Mocha Jo’s on December 28 between 1:30 PM and 5:00 PM
• Oakleigh: Katialo Restaurant, Eaton Mall on December 28 between 19:00 and 20:15
Victoria also imposed new border restrictions yesterday.
Anyone who has entered or visited the Blue Mountains or Wollongong region from December 27 has until 11:59 a.m. on New Year’s Eve to go to Victoria.
No one who has visited this area will be able to enter Victoria after 31 December.
Anyone wishing to return to Victoria from this area before midnight must apply for a new travel permit through Service Victoria, must undergo a test within 24 hours of returning to Victoria, and must self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the last time they left the region. . .
It follows a woman who tested positive last week after returning from a trip to Sydney’s north coast, Covid-19 epicenter.
Another positive case of Covid-19 in Victoria recorded in the last two months has come from travelers returning to hotel quarantine.
Restrictions in Victoria
Masks will become mandatory indoors in Victoria from 5pm today outside your private residence, Acting Prime Minister Jacinta Allan announced.
“If you are planning to leave the house at this time, we are asking people to bring their masks, we are now asking them to wear masks if they are indoors in any location that is not their private home,” he said.
The limit of people gathering in private homes will also be reduced, from 30 to 15.
The limit for indoor meetings will also take effect from 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Allan said.
“If you’re planning a party tonight, you need to reduce your numbers from 30 to 15,” he said.
“We apologize to those who have made plans, who want to hold the event in their home, or at someone else’s house, but this is a necessary step.
Unfortunately, what we know as this virus, the virus is difficult to run, it does not end at midnight.
No changes to outdoor gatherings, hospitality venues and shops were announced.
Melbourne residents have previously been advised not to travel to the city for New Year’s Eve unless they have a booking.
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