Covid 19 coronavirus: Sydney’s cluster grows, restrictions to remain in place

New South Wales has recorded eight new cases of community transmission today, the same figure as yesterday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said just under 42,000 people turned out to be tested yesterday, which she called an “unbelievably high number”.

Berejiklian announced that the majority of restrictions in place across Greater Sydney will have remain in place, with only a few changes to be implemented.

On December 24, 25 and 26, people in Greater Sydney will be able to have 10 people into their homes.

“Please make sure that it’s only one group to your house in Greater Sydney,” Berejiklian said.

“You can’t mix groups. You can’t have different rosters, having one-half of the family in the morning and the other half in the evening. Not possible.”

“Every other restriction” will remain in place over the Christmas period, she said.

Part of the northern part of the Northern Beaches will remain in lockdown over the next few days, with a new boundary to be implemented in the area.

Berejiklian said there were two distinct parts of the Northern Beaches, with the northern part of the area labelled the “epicentre” of the Covid-19 cluster.

“For the people of the northern part of the Northern Beaches, you cannot, unfortunately, move outside of your community, outside of that boundary. You cannot accept anybody were outside that boundary into your boundary but you can accept five people from within that community,” Berejiklian said.

NSW hits back at border closures

NSW may refuse to accept interstate residents returning from overseas for hotel quarantine, as anger grows towards other states for hastily slamming their borders shut over the Northern Beaches outbreak.

Every state and territory has now implemented varying levels of restrictions on NSW residents, throwing travel plans into chaos for millions of Australians days before Christmas and prompting outrage from Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Tuesday flagged the possibility of forcing other states to take their own residents for hotel quarantine, amid frustration in the government that NSW bears the brunt of the risk.

“We’ll have plenty of notice, we’ll know who’s coming in and we could organise a commercial or charter flight,” Barilaro told The Australian newspaper.

“They don’t want to pay but they want to lecture us … they’re not the ones carrying the heavy burden.”

Berejiklian on Tuesday slammed her counterparts for causing “suffering” to NSW residents, and raised the hotel quarantine issue.

“We know the infection rates are going up overseas,” she told reporters.

“We don’t stand here and tell you how many were Queenslanders or Victorians. I do feel NSW has done more than its fair share and I ask other states to do the same and I look forward to other states stepping up.”

Berejiklian said when NSW made decisions on imposing restrictions, it considered not just the health impacts “but societal impacts, what it means for the greater population – you have to assess the medical risk against the risk of other things which will harm the community”.

“That’s why we waited until Victoria had consistently 140, 120, 180 cases a day before we closed our border,” she said.

“That was a big step we took. We make sure the decisions we take consider the eight million people in the state, and not just particular groupings in one place or another.”

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