While Victorians celebrate two months of no community transmissions in New South Wales there were three new local cases recorded from 16,329 tests conducted in the past 24 hours.
All new cases are linked to the Avalon cluster while more local cases appear to have been detected after hours. Contact tracing places the infection of a Wollongong resident in the Sydney CBD, as they did not travel to the northern beaches while another two cases have reportedly come from Sydney’s northern region.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there could be further restrictions for greater Sydney if testing numbers remained low.
“We appreciate frustration levels may be increasing [on the northern beaches] but please know there is light at the end of the tunnel,” she stressed.
“Ironically, as we see time move on, the threat of greater Sydney is almost becoming as equal to parts of the northern beaches, and that’s where we’ll be adjusting potentially some of our restrictions.
I say, especially to people in the southern part of the northern beaches, please know there’ll be relief for you on 3 January. We’ll be able to tell you exactly what that relief looks like on 2 January.”
At the same time, nine people from the Northern Breaches were caught breaching restrictions at a wedding in Sydney’s Pyrmont and have been fined $1,000 each. Three more people from the same wedding also have fines pending having left red zones to attend.
Meanwhile, Queensland authorities have announced the first recorded case in Australia identified as the highly contagious South African coronavirus mutation.
The case has been identified as a returned traveller in hotel quarantine, but Queensland health minister Yvette D’Ath said there was no risk to the public. The minister explained that strains of the virus were detected in five waster-water facilities in Brisbane, including Victoria Point, Oxley Creek, Goodna, Fairfield and Redcliffe.
“We have seen other jurisdictions record a UK variant. But this is the first time the South African one has been identified in Australia,” Ms D’Ath said.
“The positive news … about this individual is that they were in hotel quarantine at the time they were tested and they have since been transferred to a hospita. And we are absolutely confident that all proper measures were taken at the hotel, and in the transfer, and of course at the hospital in relation to this positive case.”
Finally, Darwin has also recorded a new positive case; a crew member on the Diamantina cattle export vessel which entered the country from Indonesia.
The 25-year-old man was tested onboard and has since been isolating at the Royal Darwin Hospital with the rest of the crew quarantining at Howard Springs and on board the Diamantina according to international maritime law.
“There was some port staff that had interacted with that ship, but they were dressed in the appropriate PPE and keeping contact to a minimum, and I’m advised they didn’t come into contact with the infectious individual. But those people are now contacts and are in isolation and have been tested,” she said.