Australia's celebrated coronavirus record is now unravelling with 10 new cases in NSW and six in Victoria.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today confirmed five cases have been linked to the Avalon cluster with an additional three cases linked to the Croydon cluster.

Another was linked to a transport worker cluster and another is under investigation.

Meanwhile, Victoria has recorded six new cases, with the state returning to harsh restrictions within hours in a bid to stop the spread.

Authorities across both states have pleaded with the public to avoid New Year's celebrations this evening amid fears it could lead to "superspreader" events, and have urged the public to take the current threat seriously and to follow public health advice.

Read on for the latest news.

No new local cases in QLD

Alexis Carey

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk has confirmed there have been no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases in the state, although three overseas-acquired cases have been announced.

Urgent alert for new NSW venues

Alexis Carey

NSW Health has revealed a list of new venues which have been visited by confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Anyone who visited any of the venues at the below times should monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative result.
The venues are located in south-west Sydney and the south coast.


Chullora: Chullora Fish Market, December 23, 6.40am-7.10am

Liverpool: Liverpool Westfield, December 23, 1pm-3pm

Belfield: Mancini's Pizza @ Belfield, December 24, 7pm-7.15pm

Greenacre: 7 Eleven 301-305 Hume Highway, December 26, 4.30pm-5pm

Shellharbour: Myer Stockland Shellharbour, December 27, 12pm - 12.40pm

Figtree: Coles Figtree Grove Shopping Centre, December 28, 4.45pm-5.20pm

Frantic cleaning efforts at wedding breach venue

Alexis Carey

Deep cleaning is currently underway at Doltone House in Pyrmont after a "brazen" wedding was held at the venue recently which breached coronavirus rules.

The event caused the bride - who is from the northern beaches - to be fined along with a string of guests.

However, one attendee has defended the celebration, telling the Daily Mail it was justified because "no one tested positive to the virus".

"There are plenty of things happening in the world worth reporting than the same wedding for three days straight with no positive cases," she told the publication.

While no positive cases have been linked to the wedding yet, NSW has today recorded 10 new COVID-19 cases, sparking fears the latest outbreak could spiral out of control.

NSW RECORDS 10 MORE CASES

As Victoria wraps up on their virus update, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has just announced her state has reported 10 new cases.

Five cases have been linked to the Avalon cluster with an additional three cases were linked to the Croydon cluster. Another was linked to a transport worker cluster and another is under investigation.

Ms Berejiklian said this was out of 28,000 tests.

"Pleasingly we have seen the numbers go down today but it's very volatile," she said.

"They're going to bounce around and what is really important is for all of us to do everything we can to reduce our mobility, to reduce the number of people that we're mixing with and to make sure that we stick to the rules and the health advice that's been provided."

'Get tested:' CHO's plea to residents

jessica.wang

Dr Kerry Chant continued to emphasise the importance of testing and implored NSW residents to not attend gatherings of any kind if symptomatic.

"Please can I just put out a plea that do not attend any family events, family gatherings, New Year's Eve gatherings, go out and about, if you get symptoms," she said.

"I think we want to all see a much brighter 2021 and we do have some hope on the horizon in terms of vaccines.

"We all have a part to play. So thank you for following that advice, please."

Gladys asked why NSW's COVID plan differs to Victoria

jessica.wang

With Victoria making masks mandatory, Ms Berejiklian was asked why NSW would not be following suit.

Answering the question she said "every state and territory is different, every government is different".

She also reiterated that she will continue to balance public safety with community mental health and job security.

"Our first and foremost priority is always community safety, but at the same time, we also have a keen eye on mental health, on making sure we preserve as many jobs as possible and livelihoods as possible," she added.

Despite this, she also said that she would enact other changes should the public health information change.

"We're prepared to change things, we're prepared to change settings suddenly and immediately if we have to," she said.

'Clearance swabs' are critical

jessica.wang

Answering a question on whether New South Wales will go into lockdown, Dr Chant said the state is getting to a point where a number of the original cases linked to the northern beaches are now not infectious.

This is because people are generally "non-infectious after 10 days since onset of symptoms".

Clearance swabs will be critical in monitoring this, she said.

"We have got many people, many thousands of people, in the northern area of the Northern Beaches that have been in isolation, but if they could do one further act by getting that clearance swabs and I'd like to say thank you to the vast majority of people who have actually undertaken that swabbing."

SCG Test to go ahead

jessica.wang

As it currently stands the Sydney Test at the SCG will continue to go ahead. Dr Chant said they were "very keen" to work with the SCG to make sure COVID-safety plans were put in place, but added "community transmission is a concern.

"So I think it's really clear that this is an evolving situation and we will update our advice accordingly," she said.

The Premier was also asked about the increasing criticism around the state government's decision to continue the test. Giving her answer, Ms Berejiklian said her government will continue to re-evaluate community safety against maintaining a "sense of normality".

"Community safety always comes first but if there's an opportunity for us to also protect jobs and to improve the morale of our citizens and keep mental health high… why shouldn't we strive for that."

  26m agoDecember 31, 2020HIGHLIGHT

SA to shut border with NSW

Alexis Carey

South Australia will be closed to NSW residents from midnight tonight as the current coronavirus crisis continues to escalate.

The announcement was made after NSW recorded 10 new cases overnight.

MORE CASES HIT VICTORIA

Three additional COVID-19 cases have been uncovered in the community in Victoria taking the total number to six, Acting Premier Jacinta Allen said on Thursday.

She said the three additional cases were uncovered through contact tracing after three positive cases were discovered in Victoria on Wednesday.

The first three cases were linked by a Thai restaurant in Black Rock that was also linked to a NSW returned traveller, Health Minister Martin Foley said.

"In less than 24 hours, the crossover between the Mitcham and the Hallam and the Mentone people has been a facility in Black Rock, and a direct link to a NSW returned traveller," he said.

"Now that we've got links to the NSW outbreak here in Victoria, we're responding really, really quickly to get on top of that."

The three additional cases on Thursday were linked to that cluster and were uncovered through contact tracing, he said.

Anyone who visited that Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant on December 21 is urged to get tested immediately.

The first three cases come from the Melbourne suburbs of Mitcham, Hallam and Mentone - all of whom visited the same venue in Black Rock, it has been revealed.

Victoria's Commander of COVID-19 response Jeroen Weimar said the state was "deploying our full outbreak approach".

"We have been in this position before," he said.

"Extensive contact tracing is underway and as a result there are currently more than 40 primary close contacts that are being supported to isolate immediately."

He said the three positive cases are self-isolating at home.

They are two women in their 40s and a woman in her 70s.

Fountain Gate Shopping Centre has been identified as a high-risk location after a potentially infectious person visited a number of stores on December 26 between 9am and 11am.
Fountain Gate Shopping Centre has been identified as a high-risk location after a potentially infectious person visited a number of stores on December 26 between 9am and 11am.

Five locations have been designated high risk, after they were visited by the COVID-positive people while they were potentially infectious:

  • Black Rock: Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant on December 21
  • Doveton: Holy Family Parish Doveton Catholic Church on December 26 between 4pm and 6pm
  • Fountain Gate Shopping Centre: Kmart, Big W, Target, Millers, King of Gifts, Lacoste on December 26 between 9am and 11am
  • Mentone: Mentone/Parkdale Beach on December 27 between 10am and 4.30pm
  • Glen Waverley: Century City Walk and Mocha Jo's on December 28 between 1.30pm and 5pm
  • Oakleigh: Katialo restaurant, Eaton Mall on December 28 between 7pm and 8.15pm

Victoria also introduced new border restrictions on Wednesday.

Anyone who has been in or visited the Blue Mountains or Wollongong regions from 27 December has until 11.59 on New Year's Eve to get to Victoria.

Nobody who has visited these areas will be able to enter Victoria after December 31.

Anyone intending to return to Victoria from these areas before midnight must apply for a new travel permit through Service Victoria, must get tested within 24 hours of returning to Victoria, and must self-quarantine at home for 14 days from when they last left the region.

It follows one woman testing positive last week after returning from a trip to the northern beaches, Sydney's COVID-19 epicentre.

Other positive COVID-19 cases in Victoria recorded in the past two months were from returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

 

VICTORIA STREAK ENDS

Victoria's streak of 61 days without a single locally acquired case of COVID-19 has ended.

Three cases - two women in their 40s and a woman in her 70s - were reported to authorities in Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon, and none of them were in hotel quarantine.

Authorities have already been in touch with all three cases' close contacts and advised them to isolate.

The three cases are from Hallam, Mitcham and Mentone, all in Melbourne's southeast.

A spokesperson for the Victorian Government says the three new cases are believed to be linked to the Sydney cluster.

Victoria's Commander of COVID-19 response, Jeroen Weimar, said in a statement that close contacts were identified. 

"We have three cases that are self-isolating at home and are being supported and monitored … We have been in this position before and we are deploying our full outbreak approach around these cases," Mr Weimar said.

"Extensive contact tracing is underway and as a result there are currently more than 40 primary close contacts that are being supported to isolate."

Victoria is moving quickly to tighten its border restrictions with NSW, where a cluster on the northern beaches is now just one of a number of hot spots. The new rules come into effect from 11:59pm today.

Yesterday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian described an outbreak of six cases in Croydon, in Sydney's inner-west, as "concerning". There was also one more  infection in Wollongong, 120km south of Sydney. 

Things escalated again after her media conference, with a pharmacy in the Blue Mountains suburb of Katoomba breaking the news on social media that a staff member had tested positive for the virus.

The latest alert from NSW Health says people infected with COVID-19 visited a host of venues in southwest Sydney. The suburbs of most concern now include Bankstown, Bass Hill, Punchbowl and Liverpool.

Ms Berejiklian pleaded for anyone in the state with even the mildest of symptoms to come forward for testing in a bid to get on top of the outbreak.

She also announced an urgent tightening of restrictions for New Year's Eve across Greater Sydney, with indoor gatherings limited to just five people and outdoor groups restricted to 30 until further notice. 

"Our preferred advice is that people just stay home for New Year's Eve, but if (you) must have people over, don't have more than five and please make sure you have adequate social distancing, good ventilation, all those things Dr Chant and the health experts talk about," she said.

 

Originally published as Alerts issued for locations in Victoria


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