Premier’s border plea to other states
Another 23 new coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in NSW, with tough new restrictions to be imposed on Sydney's northern beaches.
Ten of the new cases were reported on Friday but included in Saturday's numbers. There are now 41 cases linked to the cluster.
The figures came as NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian pleaded with other states not to close their borders.
"We ask all state leaders to consider their decision making and to consider … the Christmas period," she said.
"We ask people to be measured in their response."
She agreed with other leaders for declaring the northern beaches a hotspot, saying she "would have done the same".
"It is a hot spot. Given the number of cases and the fact those cases are likely to be maintained," Ms Berejiklian said.
The Premier said there is no evidence yet that the virus has spread from the northern beaches, but we can expect similar case numbers to be repeated over the next 24 hours.
Restrictions will also be enforced in the northern beaches, similar to the strict lockdown experienced in March.
"We want to ensure people can have a better Christmas than what otherwise would occur," she said.
From 5pm on Saturday, people on the northern beaches will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, such as to purchase groceries, exercise, to seek medical care or visit an isolated friend or relative.
**UPDATED OPENING TIMES FOR COVID-19 TESTING CLINICS ON THE NORTHERN BEACHES**— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 18, 2020
NSW Health continues to increase COVID-19 testing options for the Northern Beaches community. pic.twitter.com/ov93zu23Es
Restrictions will be in place until midnight Wednesday.
"For the rest of Sydney, can people please abandon non essential activity. We don't want the virus spreading from the northern beaches," Ms Berejiklian said.
Of the new cases, 21 are linked to the Avalon RSL cluster but the source of the other two remain unknown, but are understood to be residents of the area.
Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said people should maintain isolation.
She also noted that the outbreak is relatively new given samples were taken from the northern beaches on December 11, which returned a negative result.
Contact tracers are now racing to determine where the 23 new cases have been.
The news comes as restaurants and bars on Sydney's coronavirus-gripped northern beaches have begun voluntarily closing their doors as authorities attempt to stem a rapidly growing cluster.
Hundreds of northern beaches residents have also been advised to self isolate after a COVID-19 case visited an Avalon gym.
More to come
Originally published as Premier's border plea to other states