Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly reiterated Ms Berejiklian’s call, asking for state leaders to enact proportionate responses to the scale of NSW’s fresh outbreak.
“For the first time, the northern beaches of Sydney were declared a hot spot yesterday in anticipation for the extra cases that have occurred overnight,” Professor Kelly said, “I would hope they will make that a proportionate thing as we have a lead-up to Christmas.”
Tourism Australia managing director Phillipa Harrison said the outbreak would inevitably lead to disrupted holiday plans and further pain for the tourism industry, but that the priority had to be keeping Australians safe.
“For the industry and operators, this is another blow, but unfortunately it’s the world we are in and the reality we all need to adapt to,” Ms Harrison said.
“Most airlines and operators are offering flexibility, so you can book and then reschedule if needed. And, in doing so, you’ll be supporting operators and the communities relying on tourism, and also have a holiday to look forward to.”
Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said the outbreak is likely to slow recovery of the already battered tourism industry and reintroduce uncertainty in people’s minds that could generate widespread cancellations.
“I think we’re going to see mass cancellations happening, especially in Sydney hotels,” Mr Johnson said.
Mr Johnson said tourists may be dissuaded from travelling because of the lingering fear of being forced to self-isolate when returning home or that the state a tourist is visiting could introduce a hard border and complicate getting home.
Travellers weighing cancelling their travel plans were met with stern warnings from Victorian authorities, who reminded people how precarious the state’s 50-day run of no new cases was.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley on Saturday reintroduced the permit system in place to regulate travel between the state and South Australia following their outbreak in November and told Victorians to stay away from Sydney.
“We would ask (people from the northern beaches) please don’t come to Melbourne, please don’t come to Victoria, and Victorians please don’t go to Sydney,” Mr Foley said.
Queensland Health Minister Yvette D’Ath on Saturday clamped down on anyone coming from NSW, with border passes coming back into effect as the contentious border politics are reignited on the northern NSW border.
Anyone coming from the NSW northern beaches area will need an exemption to enter Queensland are be required to go into hotel quarantine. That includes Queensland residents who visited the northern beaches since December 11 are required to go into 14-day hotel quarantine.
West Australian Health Minister Roger Cook did not make any changes to the state’s current border restrictions but warned that could change given the ongoing uncertainty of the scale of the outbreak in Sydney.
“I must stress that this situation could change and it could change at any time,” Mr Cook said.
On Saturday Tasmania eased their harsh approach after declaring travellers from greater Sydney medium risk, requiring passengers to quarantine for 14 days if they enter from midnight Saturday. Previously, Tasmania completely banning travellers coming from the northern beaches.
Both the Northern Territory and ACT are requiring them to self-isolate for 14 days. South Australia also requires 14-day self-isolation, an immediate test and another test on day 12.
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David Estcourt is a court and general news reporter at The Age.