Covid NSW: 15 new cases, warning over Christmas restrictions

A further 15 locally acquired coronavirus cases have been confirmed in NSW on Monday as the Northern Beaches cluster continues to grow.

There are now a total of 83 cases confirmed in the Northern Beaches cluster centred around the suburb of Avalon, with the growing outbreak putting Christmas and New Year’s plans across Sydney in doubt.

All of the new cases announced on Monday are linked to the Avalon cluster.

While there were half the cases of the previous day, Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the risk to the entire city was still prevalent.

Gladys is urging all Sydney residents to stay home when they can. Source: Getty
Gladys is urging all Sydney residents to stay home when they can. Source: Getty

“There are still a number of venues where people infected attended outside of the Northern Beaches,” she told reporters on Monday.

One venue of particular concern is the Rose of Australia Hotel in the inner west suburb of Erskineville after a second confirmed case was linked to the establishment, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said.

Anyone who visited the venue on Tuesday between 7pm and 9pm are close contacts and must isolate for 14 days and get tested.

She said a “transmission event” had also occurred at a CBD workplace.

Dr Chant said it was still unknown how the virus had been brought into the community.

More than 38,000 people were tested in the previous 24 hours, a new record Ms Berejiklian said she was “extremely pleased” with.

Christmas decision to be made Wednesday

Yet Ms Berejiklian refused to commit to allowing Christmas plans to go ahead.

“One thing I've learnt during the pandemic is that things are very volatile and they can move very quickly and I wouldn't want to put at risk the wonderful progress we've made by a knee-jerk reaction today,” she said.

“This is an ongoing and evolving situation and we know how contagious the virus is.

Experts are calling for the Northern Beaches to be shut off from the rest of Sydney. Source:
The Northern Beaches cluster grew again on Monday. Source: AAP

There could very well be developments in the next few hours... taking us back to the number of cases that we've seen in the last few days.

“We need to monitor hour by hour what's happening and monitor and make a final call on Wednesday as to what Christmas and the next few days will look like.”

Greater Sydney, Wollongong and Central Coast residents are limited to 10 visitors to a home until midnight December 23.

Northern Beaches residents can only leave home for essential shopping, work or education, exercise and compassionate grounds or care giving until midnight December 23.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said while everyone in Sydney should be wearing masks when shopping, on public transport or when out in the general community the government had no plans to make it mandatory.

Sydneysiders urged to cancel regional Christmas plans

On Monday Deputy Premier John Barilaro urged Sydneysiders with Christmas plans in regional NSW to rethink their trips.

“Change your travel plans and maybe not visit regional New South Wales until we get on top of this issue,” he said.

Anyone who has left the Northern Beaches to regional NSW from December 10 is being asked to self-isolate.

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