NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has put the rest of Sydney “on notice” after announcing a new lockdown for the Northern Beaches as a Covid-19 cluster grew.
On Saturday, NSW confirmed 23 new coronavirus cases, 10 of which were reported at 11am on Friday. Of the 23 new cases, 21 are linked to the Avalon cluster and two are under investigation.
Residents on the Northern Beaches will go into lockdown from 5pm (AEDT) on Saturday, subjected to restrictions similar to what the state had earlier this year.
However, Ms Berejiklian warned the rest of Sydney may also see tighter restrictions come Sunday, depending on health advice.
“I should say, to put everybody on notice, we will be considering today after consulting obviously the relevant people, whether this time tomorrow we do revert back to some restrictions in Greater Sydney,” she said at a press conference on Saturday.
“But we are still considering that. I just want to put everybody on notice that that is a possibility and that will depend on the health advice sent to us during the course of the day.”
Ms Berejiklian also pleaded with people in Greater Sydney to reconsider going out over the coming days and instead stay at home if possible, to prevent the virus from spreading outside of the Northern Beaches.
“Can I say to everybody in other parts of Sydney outside the Northern Beaches, please limit your activity,” she said.
“We are asking you to do this in good faith.”
Northern Beaches heads into new lockdown
The lockdown on the Northern Beaches will be in place from 5pm Saturday until midnight on Wednesday.
People on the Northern Beaches will only be permitted to leave their homes for five basic reasons: to seek medical care, exercise, grocery shop, work or for compassionate care reasons.
Ms Berejiklian also urged people on the Northern Beaches not to panic buy, as going shopping for food and essentials is permitted.
The premier hopes the restrictions will allow for Sydney to enjoy a somewhat normal holiday period.
"We're hoping that [the lockdown] will give us sufficient time to get on top of the virus, so that we can then ease up for Christmas and the New Year," she said.
Genomic sequencing has connected the cluster to a US strain of the virus, which may have entered NSW in a returned traveller in early December.
That traveller has never left the hotel quarantine system, meaning the connection between that case and the northern beaches remains unclear.
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