As NSW reports 10 new coronavirus cases on the final day of 2020, residents in eight suburbs have been placed on alert after fragments of the virus were found in sewerage plants servicing the Hornsby Heights area.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was pleasing the number of new cases on Thursday had fallen, but the situation remained "volatile" as more suburbs and venues were added to sites of concern.
NSW Health is asking all residents in the following suburbs to monitor for Covid symptoms and get tested immediately if they appear:
New Covid venues listed
NSW Health has also updated a number of new venues to the Covid list including a department store in Wollongong and a busy shopping centre in southwestern Sydney.
Those who attended the venues at the listed times should be on alert for even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose and if they appear, to come forward immediately for testing and then isolate until they receive a negative result.
Get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive further advice from NSW Health:
The Swallowed Anchor, Wollongong, December 19, all day
Get tested immediately and isolate until a negative result is received:
BWS, Berala, December 24, 4:45pm - 9:06pm, December 26, 9:55am - 7:04pm, December 28 12:44pm - 7:15pm
Pure Thai Berala, December 26, 2pm - 4pm, December 28, 2pm - 4pm
Monitor for symptoms and get tested if they appear:
Bunnings, Smithfield, December 29, 1:15pm - 1:35pm.
TFO, Tile Factory Outlet, Smithfield, December 29, 1:30pm - 3:30pm.
Chullora Fish Market, December 23, 6:40am - 7:10am.
Westfield, Liverpool, December 23, 1pm - 3pm.
Mancini’s Pizza @ Belfield, December 24, 7pm - 7:15pm.
7-Eleven, Greenacre, December 26, 4:30p, - 5pm.
Myer, Stockland Shellharbour, December 27, 12pm - 12:40pm
Coles, Figtree Grove Shopping Centre, December 28, 4:45pm - 5:20pm.
‘We are never going back to normal’
Of the 10 new Covid cases reported Thursday, five of those cases are linked to Sydney's northern beaches, taking Avalon cluster to 144 infections.
Equally concerning, another five locally acquired coronavirus cases were identified in Victoria, on top of three women whose positive tests ended a two-month streak without infections.
It's believed all six cases are tied to outbreaks of the virus in Sydney.
The ongoing outbreak prompted NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant to issue a grim warning that "we are never going back to normal".
"We might get a little bit more normalcy once we have all the population vaccinated, but COVID potentially will change our lives at all times.
"For, literally, years to come, years."
Victoria, South Australia close borders to NSW
The news prompted Victoria and South Australia to close its border to NSW from Friday amid expectations other states including Tasmania could follow suit.
Western Australia has already closed its border to NSW and could extend that to Victoria.
Queensland said it was monitoring the NSW outbreak "very closely".
In Victoria, authorities responded to the latest outbreak with new restrictions for new year celebrations, including a limit of 15 visitors to households and the mandatory use of masks at all indoor venues.
New Year’s Eve: Don’t ‘pash and dash’
New Year's celebrations in NSW will be similarly impacted and Aussies are encouraged to watch the Sydney fireworks from home.
Household gatherings across Greater Sydney - which includes Wollongong, the Central Coast, Nepean and the Blue Mountains - are limited to five people indoors, down from 10, and 30 outdoors, down from 50.
In SA, Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said revellers should still celebrate, but called on everyone to avoid kissing strangers, or the so-called "pash and dash".
"If you simply can't resist the kiss, make sure you get their name and phone number in case my team needs to follow up with them for contact tracing or on the off chance you want to see them again," she said.
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