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NSW records 18 local cases as restrictions re-imposed

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says there were 18 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours, including six linked to what health authorities are calling a cluster in Croydon.

Three adults and three children, all members of the same extended family, are linked to the cluster in Sydney’s inner-west. Its source is still under investigation.

One of these cases was first reported Tuesday morning.

Authorities are expecting more cases linked to new Croydon cluster to emerge in coming days.

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“We’ve seen a proliferation of cases outside the Northern Beaches overnight,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We anticipate that because of the nature of that extended family’s movements, there will be more cases from that cluster.”

Nine locally acquired cases are linked to the Avalon cluster, with eight of them isolating for their full infectious period.

This brings the total for that cluster to 138.

Seven cases were acquired overseas and are in hotel quarantine.

NSW will restrict people from greater Sydney from visiting aged-care facilities until 11.59pm on January 6.

“Until we further understand the community transmission across broader Sydney, we are taking a very precautionary approach to aged care visitors,” Dr Chant said.

“Obviously there are exceptions in those extenuating circumstances.

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“We understand the impact that this has, but at the moment until we understand the full scope of transmission, we do not want to inadvertently have any introductions into our aged care facilities.

“There are no restrictions on people from regional New South Wales visiting residents in regional facilities.”

Ms Berejiklian also announced changes to restrictions around New Year’s Eve.

From midnight tonight, household gatherings have been reduced to a maximum of five guests in greater Sydney, as well as Wollongong, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains.

The maximum size of outdoor gatherings is now 30 people, down from 50.

“We don’t want New Year’s Eve to be the cause of a super-spreader [event],” Ms Berejiklian said.

Elsewhere, an additional nine infringement fines $1000 have been handed to guests of the Pyrmont wedding after attendees broke a lockdown governing Northern Beaches residents.

Police Minister David Elliot said the 21 breaches so far relating to the incident was a terrible example of people defying health orders.

“It only takes one infected person to cause another cluster and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid,” Mr Elliot told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.

Ms Berejiklian has implored residents in all parts of Sydney to demonstrate “personal responsibility” and stay COVID-safe on New Year’s Eve.

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Sydneysiders are mostly banned from watching the famous New Year’s Eve fireworks from the harbour on Thursday after the foreshore was shut for the first time.

The usual 9pm fireworks display has been cancelled and people are being urged to stay at home and watch the shortened seven-minute show at midnight on television.

Restricted areas will be set up around The Rocks and Circular Quay will have no direct public transport routes from 5pm on Thursday evening.

Stay-at-home orders applying to Northern Beaches residents north of the Narrabeen Bridge will continue until at least January 9.

A lockdown for the peninsula’s southern zone will be in place until January 2.

Smaller celebrations in Victoria

Victoria marked 61 days without a local transmission of coronavirus and just one case in a returned traveller who is in hotel quarantine.

There are only eight active cases, all in hotel quarantine or self-isolation.

Restrictions on large public gatherings mean fireworks displays have been canned in favour of smaller celebrations helping some of those hardest hit by statewide lockdowns.

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp said European piazzas and squares had inspired a two-day food festival event focused on the city’s food and wine culture.

“We are delivering an event that will showcase the best of our city’s culinary talents while also supporting local businesses and keeping Melburnians in jobs,” she said.

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Nearly a dozen outdoor dining precincts have been set up across the city, including Hardware Lane, Chinatown, Spring Street and Little Bourke Street.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said while most were ready to see the difficult year end, only those with pre-bookings should head into the CBD.

One thing will remain normal – additional police will be on patrol in uniform and plain clothes, with dogs and horses and on the water.

Victoria had 8731 test results received in the previous 24 hours, nearly 2000 more than Tuesday.

– with AAP

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