Wednesday is decision day for NSW, with the state government poised to decide on lockdowns and Christmas restrictions.
In news that is certain to weigh on the shoulders of experts advising decision-makers, there are real concerns the coronavirus might have travelled hundreds of kilometres outside Sydney.
Contact tracers are racing to track the movements of confirmed cases who stopped in regional areas.
Among the new public alerts, authorities have urged anyone who visited a shopping centre in the regional city of Orange to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
A positive case visited Orange Central Square Shopping Centre on Saturday. The city is more than three hours from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, where infections have so far been concentrated.
The Central Square Shopping Centre is subject to an alert, issued on Tuesday afternoon.
NSW Health has also named another possible site of transmission in the southern town of Gundagai, also more than three hours from the outbreak epicentre.
Customers and staff at the Oliver’s Real Food takeaway restaurant from 5.30-6.05pm on December 18 have been asked to take a COVID-19 test and self-isolate until it comes back negative.
It comes after it was confirmed a teenager who travelled from the Northern Beaches to Melbourne, where she was diagnosed with COVID-19, had stopped at the cafe.
The 15-year-old girl is in isolation in Melbourne.
The Victorian visited several NSW exposure sites before returning to Melbourne with her mother. They stopped at Gundagai on the trip home.
Her mother has so far tested negative and the family of four is isolating at home in the Moonee Valley area.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said there were no known exposure sites in his state. Close contacts of the family are being traced.
Other alerts were also issued on Tuesday for Sydney venues visited by people infected with COVID-19. They are mostly on the Northern Beaches, but also at Paddington’s Alimentari deli and Bodyfit Gym in Blacktown.
There are also alerts for public transport routes between Sydney’s CBD and Ryde.
- To see the full list of venues, click here
The national spotlight is expected to remain on NSW on Wednesday as Premier Gladys Berejiklian prepares to reveal Christmas gathering restrictions for Sydney.
The NSW cabinet was in a crisis meeting on Wednesday morning to decide on rules for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
NSW infections rise
NSW had eight new local cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, down from 15 the day before and 30 on Saturday.
The cases came from a 44,500 tests – a record daily total for the state.
Ms Berejiklian will update the latest figures at 11am on Wednesday (local time).
Seven of the eight most recent cases were linked to the Northern Beaches, taking the total for the cluster to 90. The other infection is in a nurse involved in transporting patients in hotel quarantine.
“The trend is going where we want it to go, where we need to it to go … It’s volatile, but we’re confident that the strategy we’ve put in place is having the desired effect,” Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.
The Northern Beaches is still in a quasi-lockdown, with a public health order lasting until 11.59pm on Wednesday.
Even if the government decides against strict gathering regulations, the recent outbreak has caused havoc for the Christmas plans of millions.
Thousands of people around NSW are self-isolating and will continue to do so over the festive period. All state borders are also closed to people travelling from greater Sydney as well.