NSW records seven new local Covid-19 cases, as testing figures reach nearly 70,000

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NSW has recorded seven new local Covid-19 cases as people continue to come forward in record numbers for testing.

Health workers perform Covid-19 tests at a drive-through testing centre at Bondi Beach in Sydney on December 20, 2020.

Health workers perform Covid-19 tests at a drive-through testing centre at Bondi Beach in Sydney on December 20, 2020.
Photo: AFP / Steven Saphore

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said were there more than 69,800 tests recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm last night – the state’s highest number yet.

Six of the seven are people already in isolation.

Four are linked to the northern beaches cluster and three are under investigation.

However, Berejiklian said there were still concerns about “potential spread through the CBD” following emerging cases outside of the northern beaches.

People are now being urged to avoid the CBD and the Boxing Day sales.

“We know this is not the easiest message to give to those retailers, but we want to discourage people going to the CBD tomorrow,” she said.

If people do go shopping in the CBD, they must wear a mask, she said.

“We have been in contact with retailers to make sure there is a social distancing and … all people and staff and people shopping should be wearing a mask inside those venues,” she said.

“We asked people to limit their activity – think twice before going to the CBD.”

Modified restrictions remain in place for the northern beaches region until after Boxing Day.

Berejiklian thanked the community for co-operating with the measures in place.

“I do not think anybody is having a normal Christmas today across NSW and I want to thank everybody for your patience and the way we have worked together,” she said.

“I think all of us can be confident everyone is playing their part to be safe as possible.”

Concerns for venues in Circular Quay and Paddington

An alert remains for the Paragon Hotel in Circular Quay, from where three cases have now been confirmed.

Anyone who was at the venue on 16 December between 12.45pm and 3.30pm is considered a close contact and must get tested and isolate, for 14 days regardless of the result.

There are also concerns over the Alimentari Deli in Paddington, from which four cases have emerged, including one that will be recorded in tomorrow’s update.

Anyone who visited the deli on Hopetoun Street in the eastern suburb from 5.30am to 6pm between 17-19 December must get tested and self isolate regardless of the result for 14 days if they were seated patrons.

Any takeaway customers must monitor for symptoms.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said a previously reported case on 23 December was someone who works at the Belrose Hotel in the northern beaches area but was not linked to the main cluster.

The man is believed to have picked up the infection two weeks ago.

She urged residents in Belrose, Davidson and other surrounding suburbs to be alert for symptoms and get tested.

“This will help us in our investigations to better understand how this transmission event to this gentleman occurred,” she said.

Berejiklian also thanked the Northern Territory Acting Chief Minister Nicole Manison for lifting its restrictions on Sydney hotspots.

“I think the response is measured and proportionate to the risk and I ask that other premiers and chief ministers to look at that as well.”

– ABC



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