Sydney’s north shore has this morning awoken in its first day of lockdown, after a new COVID-19 cluster emerged in recent days. With the lockdown expected to last until at least midnight on Wednesday, late last night, NSW Department of Health continued to add to an increasingly long and worryingly long list of exposure sites, including two in the inner-city areas of Surry Hills and Woolloomooloo.

This newest outbreak comes just months after Australian Prime Minster, Scott Morrison declared NSW’s test-and-trace strategy as the “gold standard” in COVID-19 suppression. Words that may come back to haunt him and the NSW Department of Health in coming weeks.

Following over 28,000 tests conducted over the weekend NSW has recorded 30 new locally-acquired coronavirus cases in the 24-hours to 8pm last night. Speaking at Sunday morning’s press conference, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said thatwhilst the numbers are higher today than yesterday the one positive is we still have not seen evidence of massive seeding outside of the northern beaches community and our aim of course is to keep that in place.

I know that so many of us and so many of you cancelled arrangements you had last night, cancelled arrangements that you had in the next few days and we deeply appreciate this. If we continue to work together and see things improved, obviously we will be able to reassess these settings moving forward.

From midnight tonight, residents in Greater Sydney – including the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast – will no longer be permitted to have more than 10 visitors per day. Hospitality venues will once again need to revert to the one person per four square meter rule and will be capped at a maximum of 300 patrons to “help contact tracers in the event of further seeding.”

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 NSW Health Department have once again urged those that attended Anytime Fitness on Avalon Parade any day on or after Tuesday Dec 8 to get tested immediately and to selfisolate. Also anyone at the Avalon RSL Beach Club from Monday Dec 14 from 5pm to 10:30pm, Tuesday Dec 15 from 12pm to 5pm and Wednesday Dec 16 from 4pm to 12am is required to be tested immediately and isolate for 14 days

Authorities have also asked anyone who visited Sienna Marina restaurant on Cowper Wharf Road in Woolloomooloo on December 11 between 12pm to 2pm, Nomad Restaurant on Foster Street on Wednesday December 16 between the hours of 12:45pm 2pm to isolate and get tested. Finally, those who visited Strawberry Hills Hotel on December 16 between the hours of 3.30pm and 6pm are to do the same.

Aside from these new inner-city locations, an alert has been issued for passengers on the following train lines, after it was revealed a confirmed case had travelled on these routes between the times also listed below. Other passengers are considered casual contacts and are asked to monitor for symptoms.

  • T1 North Shore Line, Monday 14 December, departing Artarmon 8:27am, arriving Wynyard 8:49am
  • T1 North Shore Line, Monday 14 December, departing Wynyard 6:42pm, arriving Artarmon 7:01pm
  • T1 North Shore Line, Tuesday 15 December, departing Artarmon 9:17am, arriving Wynyard 9:38am
  • T3 Bankstown Line, Tuesday 15 December, departing St James 6:34pm arriving Erskineville 6:48pm
  • T3 Bankstown Line, Wednesday 16 December, departing Erskineville 7:03am, arriving Central 7:12am

Residents who were in the northern beaches from December 10 have also been asked to follow the stay-at-home orders, even if they are no longer at their home and have left the area.

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 This recent outbreak in Sydney of course comes just a week before Christmas, and after the terrible year that was, the plans many had for catching up with family and friends after months in lockdown having been thrown into disarray. One such person affected by these new restrictions being singer Greg Gould and his partner Brad.

We moved to Melbourne in October for career opportunities and whilst we cannot even begin to imagine what it was like to live here during lockdown – we were really looking forward to spending Christmas with my family after such a terrible year,” Gould told Star Observer.

“We were to be in Sydney with my fam[ily] next week – so to see everything change so suddenly is so sad. My mumma said to me I’ll have to sing ‘I’ll be home for Christmas – but only in my dreams.’ My beautiful mum has been watching to news like a hawk hoping that things would change.

I really hope that Sydney doesn’t end up with a huge second wave like Melbourne had. Just as we were thinking Australia had all but beaten this thing. Boom, COVID sneaks in to ruin Christmas. My biggest concern is that we have another year like 2020. If things get out of hand again and we can’t get on top of it – look at the US, look at Europe… anything could happen…

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard will next brief NSW on Wednesday, December 23 in regards to what steps will be taken moving forward across the Christmas period.

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