New cases rise after ‘stunning’ Covid testing scramble

Sydney has recorded nine new cases of coronavirus as special Christmas restrictions begin.

Seven of the new cases are linked to the Avalon cluster on the Northern Beaches which now numbers 104, while the other two are under investigation.

One of two new cases reported today - which will be included in tomorrow’s figure - was a man in his 20s from the Northern Beaches who could have an older infection, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

Ms Berejiklian also revealed that 60,000 people had presented for testing in the previous 24 hours, describing it as “outstanding” and “beyond amazing”.

“I nearly fell off my chair, literally,” the premier said when announcing the record testing numbers for NSW.

People across the Northern Beaches are required to stay home over Christmas. Source: AAP
People across the Northern Beaches are required to stay home over Christmas. Source: AAP

Six total cases remain under investigation with a host of locations identified after they were visited by infected people.

Sydney CBD on alert after positive cases

A case still under investigation attended the sports bar of the Paragon Hotel on Loftus Street near Circular Quay between 12.45pm to 3.30pm on December 16.

Three cases have now been linked to the bar’s patrons - those who stayed for more than an hour have been urged to get tested immediately.

Those who stayed for less than an hour should also get tested, while those who visited areas other than the sports bar part of the hotel have been asked to monitor for symptoms.

Another of the new cases is an office worker in his 40s who passed through Hunter and Bligh Street in the CBD.

They are the third case of an office worker in that part of the CBD.

Anyone in the north-eastern part of the city including the Australia Square, the MLC Centre and Chifley Square should be alert for symptoms and isolate immediately if they experience any.

People who attended the Bondi Icebergs on December 20 between 8am and 9.30am and December 21 between 7pm and 8.30pm have also been asked to get tested and isolate immediately.

Get tested on Christmas and Boxing Day

Ms Berejiklian encouraged the public to not refrain from seeking a test on Christmas Day or Boxing Day if they begin to experience symptoms.

“Do not wait until the 27th because if people wait you could be unintentionally infecting people and ruining Christmas for those closest to you,” she told reporters.

“Please get tested no matter what day it is ... people are getting their results in a couple of hours, within half a day ... getting tested and staying isolated for that period of time means that all of us can stay safe over the next few days.”

The community’s response was proving effective in clamping down on the Northern Beaches cluster, however people were required to be “extra vigilant” in the coming days, she said.

It comes after a host of new rules for December 24 to 26 were announced, sparking a frustrated wave of confusion.

Penalty for rule breaker

Police revealed on Thursday a woman from the Northern Beaches was fined $1000 after allegedly breaching travel rules and travelling to the NSW South Coast.

Officers attended a home in Sanctuary Point on Wednesday after the 37-year-old collapsed at a pizza shop Tuesday evening and subsequently was treated at the Shoalhaven Hospital.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced new restrictions for Sydney residents earlier this week. Source: AAP

Police received reports about the woman after she refused to be tested for coronavirus and left the hospital.

The pizza shop has closed for cleaning and the woman, along with three other people at the home, have been directed to isolate.

Super yacht brings Covid to Queensland

Queensland announced two new cases of coronavirus on Thursday. One is a crew member of a super yacht arriving in Cairns from the Maldives.

While some of the crew are in hotel quarantine, another six remained on the large yacht to look after the boat. They will all be tested.

The second case is a man in his 40s returning from Sydney's Northern Beaches.

He returned a negative test result on December 18 but had another test when feeling unwell after returning home to southeast Queensland.

No new cases in Victoria

Victoria has recorded its 55th straight day without a locally acquired COVID-19 case.

No new cases were recorded on Thursday, either in the community, or from interstate or returned overseas travellers.

There are 10 active cases in the state and 19,229 tests were processed in the previous 24 hours.

Victoria's border will remain closed to NSW over Christmas following Sydney's northern beaches outbreak.

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