Christmas plans shattered as states change rules after outbreak explodes

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Western Australia and Queensland have taken drastic action in a bid to prevent a surging cluster in Sydney’s Northern Beaches spreading nationwide.

Christmas plans of thousands of families have now been thrown into chaos with fears even tougher measures will be imposed.

After the cluster, centred around the suburb of Avalon, rocketed to 17 cases on Thursday evening, WA Premier Mark McGowan initially announced all travellers who’ve arrived from NSW since December 11 must self isolate until receiving a negative test result from a mandatory airport test.

FULL LIST: All of the venues which NSW Health has issued warnings about

However, he was quick to ramp up those orders following an emergency meeting, ordering any arrivals after midnight into two weeks of self-quarantine.

Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mark McGowan have both introduced border restrictions since the outbreak surged on Thursday. Source: Getty
Annastacia Palaszczuk and Mark McGowan have both introduced border restrictions since the outbreak surged on Thursday. Source: Getty

“The State Government is taking these important and extra cautious steps, based on the most up-to-date expert health advice,” he said.

"I understand these changes will cause some frustration and uncertainty for some people," he said.

Mr McGowan only reopened the border to NSW residents on December 8.

And there was a swift response from the Queensland government who ordered anyone in the state now who has been in the Northern Beaches since December 11 must self-isolate for two weeks.

Anyone who has been in the Northern Beaches since December 11 and arrives in Queensland from 1am on Saturday will be forced into hotel quarantine for two weeks at their own expense.

Northern Beaches residents rushed to get tested on Thursday. Source: AAP
Northern Beaches residents rushed to get tested on Thursday. Source: AAP

Australia reacts to Northern Beaches cluster

Tasmania has already moved to prevent people who visited high-risk locations in NSW from travelling there.

Northern Territory authorities said anyone from the Northern Beaches area travelling to the NT will need to undertake 14 days of mandatory, supervised quarantine in either Alice Springs or Darwin.

Anyone already in Victoria and has been in the Sydney region has been told they must isolate and seek testing until receiving their result.

Arrivals are being told to isolate for two weeks.

Meanwhile, people in NSW are being urged not to travel to the northern beaches if they don't have to.

Northern beaches residents have been told to keep to their household groups, and work from home if they can.

They have also been told to avoid unnecessary travel outside the region, and not to visit high-risk venues including clubs, restaurants, places of worship and gyms.

The northern beaches cluster includes a residential aged care worker and a musician who recently performed in a band at three RSL clubs, including in Avalon.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said she believes the Avalon RSL is the source of multiple infections, however health authorities anxiously await genomic sequencing.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged states not to close their borders as further cases emerged.

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