Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was “absolutely appalling to see what was clearly a large gathering of people who didn’t give a damn about the rest of Sydney”, and there was every chance the party could become a “super-spreader event”.
Ms Berejiklian said the vast majority of people on the northern beaches and across NSW were doing the right thing “but a small portion of people that aren’t can ruin it for everybody else”.
“An event like that is of enormous concern,” she said. “We monitor those activities and those events and if we need to take action we will. We don’t want to go down that path but we do want to send a strong warning to the community that if enough people don’t do the right thing in those circumstances, the government has to consider its options.”
On Saturday evening, NSW Health released a number of new and updated transport routes attended by confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Anyone who attended Cibo Cafe in North Sydney on December 16 between 12pm and 12.45pm is considered a close contact, and must immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether a negative result is received.
Meanwhile, anyone who attended the following venues at the following times is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received:
- Anytime Fitness Belrose, December 6 and 7 between 9.30am and 11.30am.
- P’nut Street Noodles Thai Restaurant, Balmain, December 16 between 6pm and 6.15pm.
- Belrose Hotel, Belrose, anyone who attended this venue during December should monitor for symptoms and immediately get tested if they appear.
- Sir Reuben, Rozelle, December 20, between 11am and 11.30am.
- Zeus Street Greek, Drummoyne, between December 22 between 6pm and 6.15pm
- Balmain Post Office, Balmain, December 22 between 3.30pm and 4pm.
Anyone who attended the following venue at the following times should monitor for symptoms and immediately get tested and isolate if they appear. If further symptoms appear, isolate and get tested again:
- Australian Red Cross Op Shop, Avalon Beach, December 15 between 1pm and 2pm.
- Ian Potter Children’s Wild Play Garden, Centennial Park, December 22 between 10am and 11.15am
Under the rules in place until NYE, people in the northern beaches must stay home, except to shop, travel for work or education, for exercise, or to access medical care, and remain in their area unless it is unavoidable.
In the northern part of the peninsula, north of Narrabeen Bridge and east of the Baha’i Temple, outdoor gatherings of up to five people including children are now allowed. In the southern zone, outdoor gatherings can comprise up to 10 people including children.
For residents elsewhere in Sydney, plus the Central Coast, Wollongong and Blue Mountains region, gatherings in the home are restricted to 10 visitors in total including children and CBD workers are urged to work from home if practical.
There was no indication of when the lockdown would end. The Premier said she would make an announcement about NYE closer to the time, based on case figures, but some “basic things” were clear.
“Everybody should assume they’re watching the fireworks from home this year,” she said, except for people with tickets to hospitality venues, which would need to abide by the one-person-per-four-square-metre rule.
Plans to allow frontline workers such as nurses and firefighters to access prime fireworks vantage points on the harbour are being reviewed.
Of the 15 new cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, six were in returned travellers in hotel quarantine and nine were locally acquired.
Eight of the nine were linked to the Avalon cluster, which stood at a total of 116 infections. The ninth, a man from Bondi, was still under investigation, but NSW Health said it could be an old case or a false positive.
Dr Chant said contact tracers were no closer to identifying patient zero of the Avalon cluster after earlier suspecting a mystery case involving a man who worked at the Belrose Hotel was key.
“We still do not know the cause of the seeding event in the northern beaches,” she said. “Obviously, the young man from Belrose appears to be a fairly early case … but the question remains unclear.”
Dr Chant said other mystery cases included a man who lived outside the northern beaches but worked in Manly and a third person who caught the virus in the CBD.
There are now four cases associated with the Paddington Alimentari Deli including a young child, and Dr Chant called for everyone who was seated in the restaurant between December 17 and 19 to get tested and isolate, and takeaway customers to monitor for symptoms.
She also said a person who flew from Sydney to Griffith on Monday December 21 has since been confirmed as COVID positive, meaning the flight attendant and 28 passengers are regarded as close contacts and need to be tested at Griffith Base Hospital and self-isolate. She said the person flew before they knew they were a close contact of a case and “did nothing wrong”.
The total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic is 4658 and NSW Health is currently treating 107 patients, none of whom are in intensive care.
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Caitlin Fitzsimmons is a senior writer for The Sun-Herald, focusing on social affairs.
Laura is a crime reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.