New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney remain in doubt as nervous residents wait with fingers crossed for the Northern Beaches coronavirus outbreak to be contained.
Hours after Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced an easing of restrictions for Christmas, attention was already shifting to the viability of the world-famous fireworks display on Sydney Harbour.
The Australian Medical Association urged the state government to ‘‘seriously consider cancelling the New Year’s Eve fireworks display to discourage crowds’’.
“We all need to be extra vigilant during this holiday period to the stop the spread of COVID-19, especially as at this time of year when people travel, attend events, and spend time in close proximity with family and friends,’’ AMA federal president Dr Omar Khorshid said.
“We must be prepared to tighten general restrictions even further if we continue to see evidence of the virus spreading in areas outside of the Northern Beaches.”
The AMA welcomes the NSW Government’s cautious approach to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season, but the Government needs to cancel the New Year’s Eve fireworks display to discourage crowds and avoid any confusion in public messaging https://t.co/KNy4IaLTsk
— AMA Media (@ama_media) December 23, 2020
New South Wales Health on Wednesday night updated its number of venues visited by confirmed COVID-19 cases.
The full list of locations include Alexandria | Avalon | Avalon Beach | Bayview | Belrose | Berowra | Blacktown | Cronulla | Crows Nest | Double Bay | Erskineville | Forster | Freshwater | Gordon | Hornsby | Kirribilli | Lane Cove | Macquarie Park | Manly | Milsons Point |Mona Vale | Narrabeen | Neutral Bay | Newport | North Sydney | Paddington | Palm Beach | Penrith | St Leonards | St Peters | Surry Hills | Sydney | Turramurra | Woolloomooloo | Warriewood
It recommended: ‘‘Anyone who attended the following venues at the following times is a casual contact who should monitor for symptoms and immediately get tested and isolate if they appear. If further symptoms appear, get isolate and get tested again.’’
PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT – NEW AND UPDATED VENUES
NSW Health has been notified of a number of new and updated venues visited by confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Anyone who attended the following venues at the following times is considered a close contact, and must immediately… pic.twitter.com/HVyiA59fex
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 23, 2020
In a bid to save the festive season for some of the Northern Beaches’ 250,000 residents in lockdown, the Premier announced the region will be split into two.
Residents north of the Narrabeen Bridge, at the epicentre of the cluster, will be allowed to host up to five people in their homes – although guests must live within that designated zone, which stretches west as far as the Baha’i Temple.
Among the ‘‘modest changes’’, Greater Sydney’s current rule of only 10 visitors to a home each day will be “tweaked” so that children under 12 are not included for December 24 to 26. It will revert to current settings on December 27.
Restrictions remain in the Greater Sydney region, Central Coast, Wollongong and Nepean Blue Mountains.
“We are urging the community to continue to play their role in controlling the spread, by getting tested if symptoms develop, practising physical distancing and good hand hygiene, and by wearing a mask, particularly indoors,” Ms Berejiklian’s statement read.
If you need to get tested for #COVID19, you have a few different options. Depending on where you live, you may be able to visit a:
– Pop up testing centre
– GP’s office
– Respiratory clinic
– Drive through testing site
— Australian Government Department of Health (@healthgovau) December 22, 2020