Sydney is on high alert for at least the next three days.
Overnight, the Avalon cluster grew to 28 cases and, consequently, the Northern Beaches Council has closed beaches, skate parks, playgrounds, outdoor gyms as well as the Manly and Warringah aquatic centres. Community centres, libraries, and cultural facilities in the area will also close until at least Sunday, 20 December in the hope to limit the spread. (Featured image:@rymawby)
Northern Beaches residents have been urged to stay home, and those that can work from home should do so. Furthermore, New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has reminded all NSW residents to be on high alert and also urged us to wear masks, saying that it would be loco to go grocery shopping, catch public transport, or attend places of worship not wearing a mask.
Although the directive to wear masks when out is only a suggestion, the premier has warned that at least two people from around Sydney had attended Northern Beaches venues that are at the centre of the cluster outbreak. They had then returned to their own suburbs and could potentially increase the spread.
The Covid strain linked to the Avalon cluster is said to be of American origin, likely linked to a woman who returned to Australia at the beginning of December. She remains in a health hotel receiving treatment. However, it is unclear what the initial source of the infection was, which is worrying authorities.
The state’s chief health officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said ”my anxiety is we haven’t found the direct transmission route, and we cannot be sure we have blocked the transmission line.”
Speaking to the media, Premier Berejiklian stated ”we don’t want to go down the mandatory path but we will if we have to but at this stage, let’s see how the next 24-48 hours goes and I will not hesitate to take on health advice if Dr (Kerry) Chant and her team give us advice to the alternative.
”At this stage we believe what we have in place is commensurate or matches what the risk is.”
Health NSW have requested that people who attended the Northern Beaches locations (found here) to get tested as soon as possible and to isolate until they receive a negative result.
Surf Life Saving NSW have lowered the red and yellow flags at the following 21 beaches:
- Dee Why
- Long Reef
- Mona Vale
- North Curl Curl
- North Narrabeen
- North Palm Beach
- North Steyne
- South Curl Curl
- South Narrabeen
- Whale Beach
Queensland: anyone who was in the Northern Beaches region from 11 December, must go into quarantine in their own home or accommodation if they have already arrived in Queensland. Anybody arriving from Saturday 19 December, must go into hotel quarantine at their own expense and also be tested.
Victoria: any NSW residents trying to enter into Victoria from midnight tonight must have a valid permit. People who have been in the Northern Beaches area will be barred from entry while those travelling from Greater Sydney are encouraged to get tested on arrival and self-quarantine.
Tasmania: the Northern Beaches have been labelled a hotspot, and nobody who has been there will be permitted entry into Tasmania.
Northern Territory: mandatory quarantine for 14 days for anyone returning from the Northern Beaches.
South Australia: people who attended a venue on the NSW Health list must be tested immediately and go into quarantine. They also have to be re-tested on the 11th day of quarantine, and regardless of the result, must complete quarantine.
Western Australia: anyone arriving in WA from NSW will need to self-quarantine and also be tested on day 11.