Australia

NSW records nine new local coronavirus cases

NSW has recorded nine new locally acquired coronavirus cases, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.Seven of those were linked to the northern beaches cluster, and two were under investigation, Ms Berejiklian said.Of the two under investigation, one of the infected people lives in the northern beaches and another one is believed to have gotten the virus at…

NSW has recorded nine new locally acquired coronavirus cases, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Seven of those were linked to the northern beaches cluster, and two were under investigation, Ms Berejiklian said.

Of the two under investigation, one of the infected people lives in the northern beaches and another one is believed to have gotten the virus at a sports bar in Sydney’s CBD.

The northern beaches resident whose tests are being scrutinised is a man in his 20s.

“Those test results are still being worked through, it may be that he’s got an older infection. But we are forensically looking at that,” NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said.

Another of the new cases was a person who visited a sports bar at the Paragon Hotel near Circular Quay on December 16.

The nine new cases were the total discovered by virus testers in the 24-hour period ending at 8pm on Wednesday night.

Another case was identified after that cutoff, NSW Health officials said. That person also attended the Paragon Hotel sports bar on December 16.

The northern beaches cluster has now infected a total of 104 people.

The Premier urged families to stay safe over the holiday weekend.

“Please make sure that all of us reduce our mobility,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We don’t want people moving around if it’s not necessary.”

She urged people to minimise contacts with other people and to get tested and self-isolate if they feel any symptoms.

The Christmas Eve virus update came after the state was divided up into four zones to avoid a wider spread over the festive season.

The northern part of the northern beaches will remain in relative isolation, while residents in the region’s southern part will be allowed to welcome up to 10 visitors for Christmas.

Greater Sydney will be considered a third zone, and the rest of NSW a fourth one.

Over 60,000 people got tested over the 24-hour period that ended at 8pm on Wednesday night.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has praised NSW’s “outstanding, extraordinarily positive job” in combating the virus, saying NSW was a “model” for states facing COVID-19 outbreaks.

“This was an outbreak that could have been on a huge, Victorian-sized scale,” he told 2GB on Thursday.

“But the community has stood up as, they’ve come forward to testing. Other than that, they’ve stayed home and stayed safe.

“That’s been a model of what we’ve been looking for in Australia.”

It comes after eight locally acquired coronavirus cases were recorded on Wednesday, the same number as Tuesday.

The total number of cases linked to the northern beaches cluster increased by seven to 97 on Wednesday.

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