LATEST COVID-19 DEVELOPMENTS:
* Christmas in Sydney's coronavirus-hit northern beaches has been partially salvaged with locked-down households there allowed to welcome up to five visitors.
* Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a four-tier system for Christmas gatherings across NSW would be implemented from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, with a return to the current restrictions on Sunday.
* Restrictions for regional NSW will remain unchanged, while up to 10 people and unlimited children aged under 12 will be permitted to visit another home on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day across Greater Sydney.
* Northern beaches residents north of the Narrabeen Bridge can host five people from the local area, while those in the south will be able to host 10 visitors from anywhere.
* NSW recorded eight new locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, with seven connected to the Avalon cluster, which now totals 97 infections.
* The eighth case is a close contact of an infected quarantine nurse who was confirmed COVID-positive on Tuesday, but NSW Health now believes they are genomically connected to the Avalon cluster rather than COVID-positive returned travellers.
* A Qantas crew member who has tested positive for coronavirus flew from Darwin to Sydney without quarantining just one day after arriving back in the country on a flight from Paris.
* NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles said the man had very limited contact with the community, stayed one night in the designated Hilton Hotel and wasn't believed to be infectious while he was in Darwin.
* The man developed COVID-19 symptoms on Monday and tested positive before he was moved into hotel quarantine, with contact tracing underway.
* Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her NSW counterpart blaming Queensland for reacting to the Sydney coronavirus cluster with tough border restrictions is "a bit rich".
* Queensland recorded one new case in hotel quarantine overnight and has now been 99 days without community transmission.
* Victoria's testing commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed the state's tough border restrictions with NSW will remain in place for Christmas.
* Victoria had one new case of coronavirus in hotel quarantine on Wednesday, with no further cases linked to the NSW outbreak.
* South Australian health authorities have drawn a line through Adelaide's worst coronavirus cluster, with the Parafield outbreak declared officially eliminated.
* AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says the competition can rebuild its coronavirus-hit balance sheet within four years after completing a bumper extension to its broadcast rights agreement.
* Organisers expect Sunday night's A-League season opener between Western Sydney Wanderers and Macarthur FC to go ahead without crowd limits at Bankwest Stadium.
AUSTRALIAN CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS:
* There were 18 new cases recorded in Australia on Wednesday: 16 in NSW and one each in Victoria and Queensland. Eight are locally-transmitted cases and the 10 others came from hotel quarantine.
* The national death toll is 908: Victoria 820, NSW 55, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3. (Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in the official tolls of both states.)
GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS:
* Cases: at least 78,011,000
* Deaths: at least 1,717,000
* Recovered: at least 43,998,000
Data current as of 1715 AEDT December 23, taking in federal and state/territory government updates and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.