NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed 10 new COVID-19 cases linked to the cluster on Sydney’s northern beaches

Ms. Berejiklian said another person who contracted the virus in Sydney has since traveled to Queensland, bringing the total number of the cluster to 28

A total of 25 cases are linked to either the Avalon RSL, the Avalon Bowlo, or both

One person was traveling to Queensland by air and was contacted by NSW health authorities as part of a contact tracing before heading back to Sydney

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said genome testing suggested the strain circulating on northern beaches was from the United States

Dr Chant said there was some similarity between the Northern Beaches variety and a variety found on an overseas traveler who was in hotel quarantine

“It’s similar, but like I said it doesn’t allow us to confirm that this person is the source, “she said

Ms. Berejiklian suggested that further restrictions would come into effect in NSW if the outbreak was not brought under control

“I stress to everyone in and around Avalon and the northern beaches that you should not leave your home for the next three days unless absolutely necessary,” she said

“If we get to that in the next two or three days, we can all have a better Christmas

“If we don’t take care of it, there could be further restrictions”

Ms. Berejiklian said residents of the Greater Sydney area should wear a mask in areas with high pedestrian traffic

“Nobody should get on public transport without a mask, nobody in the greater Sydney area should go to a supermarket or place of worship without a mask,” she said

Beaches from North Palm Beach to Manly have been closed and flags lowered until Monday to prevent people in the area from leaving their homes

Surf Life Saving NSW said volunteer patrols would also be suspended over the weekend, but surveillance capability would only be maintained in emergencies

Dr Chant said genome testing showed a Sydney van driver diagnosed Wednesday also had an overseas exposure

Ms. Berejiklian also confirmed that new rules for the international airline’s crew will be introduced next Tuesday

Currently, the flight crew can self-isolate upon arrival in NSW either at home or in an accommodation

Meet every week between 2000 and 3000 flight crews in NSW, said Health Secretary Brad Hazzard

Ms. Berejiklian confirmed that there would be two police-run flight crew hotels in Sydney, “as opposed to 25 or 26 [hotels]”

She said the “lack of compliance” is the problem that has tightened the rules

Ms. Berejiklian confirmed that an airline that was not an Australian citizen breached its quarantine and went to venues

“Fortunately that doesn’t seem to have been and was not considered at this point, but this is an example a few weekends ago where the crew is supposed to and shouldn’t be isolating”

Mr. Hazzard has also announced that the rules for Australian flight crews could also be tightened in the coming days

“Some of the crew members are Australian, and international agreements provide that home country crews can normally go to their homes,” he said

Dr Chant admitted that some flight crew members lived in the northern beaches area and are currently self-isolating there, but said they would “throw the net far and wide” in their investigation

Meanwhile, NSW police have imposed penalties of 1 on 13 crew members for allegedly failing to follow self-isolation instructions$ 000 imposed for public health violations

Police have been told that a crew member who died on Jan. Arrived December on a flight from South America, had left his accommodation in Mascot in violation of public health regulations

Following an investigation, police said several other crew members had left the hotel and visited nearby businesses

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World News – AU – NSW premier flags imposing restrictions if the Sydney cluster is not brought under control

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-18/nsw-coronavirus-ten-new-cases-bringing-total-to-28/12996622