NSW has reported 10 new locally acquired coronavirus cases, with 28 cases now linked to the Northern Beaches cluster.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said all but one of the new cases had been linked to Northern Beaches outbreak.
She also confirmed one of the cases linked to the cluster was a person who travelled to Queensland and two residents of Cronulla are also connected to the Avalon outbreak.
Ms Berejiklian urged people on the Northern Beaches to again only leave home if it was absolutely necessary, and to stay away from non-essential activities including visiting hotels, restaurants and cafes.
“If we get on top of this in the next two or three days all of us will be able to have a much better Christmas but if we don’t get on top of it in the next few days, it could mean further restrictions down the track,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Northern Beaches strain of US origins
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant told reporters eight people who tested positive had visited the Avalon RSL on December 11 and 16 people attended the Avalon Bowlo on December 13.
Two cases attended both venues.
Dr Chant said it is believed there was a seated event at the RSL that occurred on December 11, and people infected then visited the Bowlo, amplifying the number of cases.
She said genomic sequencing had found the cluster is an international strain, likely of US origins.
Ms Berejiklian confirmed there was a similar strain in a returned traveller but investigations are still preliminary.
Premier’s warning to Greater Sydney
The premier urged people in Greater Sydney to be on high alert and people with the mildest symptoms should get tested and isolate.
“Can everybody please think about their activity, nobody should be getting on public transport without a mask, nobody in Greater Sydney should be going to a supermarket or place of worship or other high-risk areas without a mask,” she said.
NSW Health Minister raised concerned over “creeping complacency that had become an avalanche”.
“We need to have all of the community aware again that we are in the middle of a worldwide Covid pandemic,” he said.
“I think it is time for us, with the Avalon cluster, it has served as a timely reminder to all, particularly those in the broader regions of Sydney, there is no room for complacency. Until we have a vaccine, we don’t have a solution.”
Prime Minister urges people to remain calm
Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters NSW had an “extraordinary capacity” to deal with Covid challenges and he had full confidence in the state.
“These things remind us we’re still in the midst of a global pandemic, the virus has not got away, it’s still there, and as a result all the measures that we continuously take are necessary to continue to protect Australia,” he said.
“We have dealt with this before, we’ll deal with it again. It’s important that people remain calm about these issues and follow the instructions they are receiving from their local health authorities.”
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