Australians are being urged to be hypervigilant about seeking testing as Christmas approaches, with the chance of infection increasing as people mingle.
NSW Health is warning about the dangers of gathering in large numbers as people celebrating the festive season.
“Even though NSW has had low numbers of locally transmitted COVID cases in recent days, the upcoming holiday period will see an increase in social and community gatherings,” a spokesperson said.
“It is very likely that COVID-19 will continue to circulate in the community, including among people with mild symptoms or no symptoms.
“It is important that we all continue to take advantage of our outdoor venues and maintain the COVID-safe practices we have become used to, such as physical distancing, wearing a mask on public transport and in places where you can’t distance from others, and good hand hygiene.”
Those fears have been echoed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews who cautioned against Victorians travelling interstate to celebrate the festive season.
“I would urge all Victorians, don’t be going to Sydney for Christmas unless you absolutely have to. If you want a summer holiday – we have lots of opportunities here.”
Ms Berejiklian announced on Wednesday that NSW would open its border to Victoria on November 23, while Mr Andrews is expected to remove the ‘ring of steel’ and travel limits from November 8.
Victoria reached another milestone on Thursday, celebrating a sixth consecutive day with no new cases of coronavirus and no deaths.
Meanwhile, NSW recorded two new cases of coronavirus, but both were people in hotel quarantine after returning from overseas.
Minister for health Greg Hunt signalled the incredible effort of Australians in fighting back the deadly virus, while other parts of the world are suffering greatly.
Mr Hunt tweeted on Thursday that while Australia recorded no new locally transmitted cases of coronavirus overnight and no deaths, the world recorded its highest daily death toll since the pandemic began.
QLD-NSW rivalry sparks during State of Origin
An ongoing spat between the leaders of NSW and Queensland continues as NRL’s State of Origin gets entangled with border wars.
Queensland is yet to invite Sydney-siders and Victorians over for the silly season, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk flagging a decision will be made at the end of the month.
Visitors from elsewhere in Australia can freely enter Queensland without needing to quarantine for 14 days.
Ms Palaszczuk has not spoken with her NSW counterpart about the border, but has found time to tease Ms Berejiklian about Queensland’s win at game one of the State of Origin.
Ms Berejiklian said she had reached out to Ms Palaszczuk to congratulate her on being re-elected on Sunday, and asked to have a conversation about reopening the border.
“I’ve tried. I reached out to her and congratulated her and asked to have that conversation,” Ms Berejiklian told the Nine Network’s Today Show on Thursday.
Ms Palaszczuk’s office said she received a congratulatory text but it contained no requests to talk about the border.
It’s understood the Queensland premier replied to the message after the Maroons’ win over the NSW Blues in the State of Origin on Wednesday night.
“Queenslander,” is all she wrote.
Ms Berejiklian called on Ms Palaszczuk and West Australian Premier Mark McGowan to think about citizens hurt or stressed by border closures.
“The economic devastation which will be caused unnecessarily is not worth the pain,” she said.
“And both she and the WA premier really need to sit up and think about Australia. Think about their citizens and citizens across Australia who are suffering because of their decisions.”
The Sunshine State recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, with eight active cases in the state.