Back from Grocery Shopping…WooHoo! – Mick Raven
Sydney’s Northern Beaches coronavirus cluster rises by 13 cases, region to go into lockdown until Wednesday
Sydney’s Northern Beaches will be locked down until Wednesday after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed 23 new COVID-19 cases, including 10 that were reported yesterday.
- Health authorities have praised the 12,374 people who have come forward for testing
- The Northern Beaches will be in lockdown until Wednesday at midnight
- People in Greater Sydney have also been urged to limit their activity
She said 21 have been confirmed as directly linked to the Avalon outbreak in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Two other cases are under investigation.
The Avalon cluster is now 38 cases: 15 cases are linked to the Avalon RSL, 23 cases are linked to the Avalon Bowling Club and several cases attended both venues.
The Northern Beaches area will now be in lockdown from 5:00pm on Saturday to midnight on Wednesday, with people being asked to stay at home unless for “essential reasons”.
The reasons permitted for leaving home are work, for compassionate grounds, for exercise and for shopping.
People will also not be permitted to enter the Northern Beaches LGA unless for any of those reasons.
Hospitality venues, function centres, gyms and places of worship will close.
Ms Berejiklian also flagged that restrictions could be extended across Greater Sydney if it was warranted.
“I should say, to put everybody on notice, we will be considering today after consulting obviously the relevant people, whether this time tomorrow we do revert back to some restrictions in Greater Sydney, but we are still considering that,” she said.
“I just want to put everybody on notice that that is a possibility and that will depend on the health advice sent to us during the course of the day.”
Ms Berejiklian said the Northern Beaches lockdown had been introduced because of the “likelihood” there would be a repeat of a similar rise in case numbers over the next 24 hours.
She urged people not to “panic” given the temporary restrictions.
“We are hoping that will give us sufficient time to get on top of the virus so we can then ease up for Christmas and the New Year moving forward,” she said.
Ms Berejiklian said people in Sydney outside of the Northern Beaches should avoid unnecessary travel.
“Can I say to everybody in other parts of Sydney outside the Northern Beaches, please limit your activity,” she said.
“We are asking you to do this in good faith. We are asking you not to undertake non-essential travel, or non-essential activity.
“If you are planning a night out tonight, we ask you to consider changing those plans and staying at home.”
Lengthy waits for testing
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said there were 12,734 tests recorded to 8:00pm last night, up from 7,531 on the previous period.
It comes as people come forward for testing but are facing lengthy waits of several hours at testing clinics across the Northern Beaches and beyond.
Health authorities said they were still confident it was a relatively localised outbreak.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard thanked the Northern Beaches community for coming forward for testing.
“It has been an amazing response in the last 36 hours,” he said.
“The community have come out in great numbers to be tested. They have obviously been on high alert.”
He also commended the cafes, restaurants and clubs that have closed.
“We will make sure that it is not any longer than necessary.”
Beaches from Manly to North Palm Beach have also been closed.
Dr Chant said sewage testing on December 16 had returned a positive result, whereas previous testing on December 10 had proved negative.
“That gives us confidence this is a relatively recent addition,” she said.
Earlier on Saturday, NSW Health issued an alert for “several hundred people” who attended a gym in Avalon over five days earlier this month.
It said a known COVID-19 case went to the Anytime Fitness gym on Avalon Parade while infectious.
Anyone who attended the gym on the following days must get tested and isolate for 14 days:
- Saturday, December 12
- Friday, December 11
- Tuesday, December 8
- Monday, December 7
- Sunday, December 6
“The large time exposure range of this case means there are potential contacts numbering in the hundreds,” NSW Health said.
“NSW Health is working with the gym management to identify those people who attended the gym at the same time as the confirmed case.”
The gym is closed until further notice and close contacts of the case are being contacted.