'Frantic' scenes at Sydney airport as Covid-19 cluster grows

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·4-min read

There were chaotic scenes at Sydney Airport on Sunday as residents rushed to escape the city as the Northern Beaches coronavirus outbreak continued to grow.

Christmas plans for thousands have been thrown into disarray as states and territories move swiftly to block out Sydneysiders from entering.

The Northern Beaches outbreak ballooned to 70 cases on Sunday with Premier Gladys Berejiklian once again warning it will rise again on Monday as contact traces desperately try and identify the source of the cluster.

The surge in cases prompted a wave of travellers to rush to the city’s airport in a last ditch attempt to evade impending border and possible local restrictions.

States have moved to block travellers after the Northern Beaches outbreak grew again on Sunday. Source:
States have moved to block travellers after the Northern Beaches outbreak grew again on Sunday. Source:

On Sunday, Victoria, which itself was shut off from the rest of Australia for months during a devastating second wave, closed its border to greater Sydney and Central Coast residents, meaning any arrivals would be forced to quarantine for two weeks.

However, Victorian arrivals who land before midnight on Monday will have the option to quarantine at home.

One traveller said his flight was packed heading into Victoria and he was forced to pay a further $250 to guarantee making it to Melbourne for Christmas.

"It’s been a very frantic day of packing and booking tickets," he told news.com.au.

South Australia, Queensland, the Northern Territory and the ACT then followed.

Queensland and Victoria will give local residents the chance to quarantine at home if they return by a certain time. Source: AAP
Queensland and Victoria will give local residents the chance to quarantine at home if they return by a certain time. Source: AAP

People travelling from the hotspots will not be able to enter the jurisdictions from Monday.

If they do enter, they will have to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine in most states, or quarantine at home in South Australia and the ACT.

Only those from greater Sydney will have to quarantine for two weeks on arrival in Tasmania.

Western Australia has imposed its hard border with NSW entirely.

Greater Sydney stretches from the Hawkesbury, Hornsby and northern beaches regions in the north, to the Blue Mountains in the west, and the Wollondilly, Campbelltown and Sutherland regions in the south.

Those who have been in the Wollongong local government area also cannot enter SA, while the NT, ACT, and Queensland have barred the entire Illawarra/Shoalhaven region.

Returning Queenslanders are offered the same home quarantine deal as Victorians until 1am Tuesday.

Northern Beaches residents have been placed under lockdown until Wednesday while residents of greater Sydney have been urged to avoid unnecessary outings and to wear a mask when heading out or travelling on public transport.

Passengers arriving from Sydney are tested for COVID-19 at Melbourne Airport in Melbourne. Source: AAP
Western Australia has imposed its hard border with NSW entirely. Source: AAP

Almost 100 venues listed as infected

Almost 100 venues across Sydney have been listed as infected by NSW Health after positive Covid-19 cases visited during the Northern beaches outbreak.

Health officials updated the list twice overnight, warning those who visited Anytime Fitness in Mona Vale on December 17, 4 Pines brewery in Newport on December 16 and any patrons and staff at Twenty-One Espresso on the night of December 15 to self-isolate immediately regardless of a test result.

Anyone who dined at Garfish in Manly between 6.45pm and 10pm on December 17 is considered a close contact and should get tested and self-isolate immediately.

Casual contacts who visited the Northern Beaches Indoor Sports Centre between 6.30pm and 9.30pm on December 15, Flower Power on the morning of December 18 and the Bowen Island Bakery between 9am and 9.30am on December 18 should isolate until they receive a negative test result.

New virus restrictions for Greater Sydney

  • Household gatherings will be limited to 10 visitors (until 11:59pm Wednesday).

  • The one person per four square metre rule will be re-introduced for all indoor settings including hospitality venues and places of worship.

  • A cap of 300 people will apply for hospitality venues and places of worship.

  • Singing and chanting at indoor venues will not be allowed.

  • Dancefloors will not be permitted, except for weddings, when a maximum of 20 from the bridal party will be permitted.

With AAP

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