Sydneysiders are waking to the prospect of a very different Christmas as Premiers across the nation close borders to the state in an attempt to keep coronavirus at bay.
Queensland borders closed
Queensland is the latest state to shut its borders to residents of Greater Sydney. As of 1 am today, if you are a resident of Greater Sydney, Queensland is now closed to you as the state’s health minister Yvette D’Ath declares the area a hot spot. While Queensland residents have until 1 am December 22 to get back home before the border slams shut.
“If you are from Greater Sydney, now is not the time to come to Queensland,” the premier said.
“When the New South Wales premier says she is on high alert, we are on high alert,” Palaszczuk said.
The news comes as the premier urged anyone who has been in Sydney over the past week to get tested, as traces of coronavirus appeared in sewage across the state – including as far afield as Cairns, Cleveland and the Gold Coast.
“Any symptoms whatsoever, even if they are mild, please go and get tested. It is absolutely important that Queenslanders do that,” she said.
The premier confirmed there are now 15 people in Queensland who were close contacts of the Avalon Beach cluster.
Victoria declares Greater Sydney a red zone
Victorians have til 1159pm tonight to return home as the premier Daniel Andrews declared Greater Sydney a red zone last night.
All of Greater Sydney and the Central Coast is a red zone — you cannot come to Victoria. If you do then you will have to hotel quarantine for 14 days,” Andrews said.
“We know keeping families apart is an especially hard ask this close to Christmas. But Victorians have given up too much for us not to take this seriously.
“Without significant additional action to slow the spread of the virus in New South Wales, we believe these measures are necessary to keeping Victoria safe.”.
WA’s hard border means no entry for NSW residents
No one from NSW will be able to enter WA as the state shuts its border in an effort to keep coronavirus- free.
Making the announcement at a press conference Premier Mark McGowan said he knew the announcement would be hard to take but it was in the best interest of the state.
“I know it will throw Christmas and reunion plans into disarray if it hasn’t already. These are now extraordinary circumstances.
“I wish I didn’t have to be making this announcement but as Premier I have a responsibility for every Western Australian and I need to do what is right to keep our state safe and strong.”
South Australia border chaos
There was airport chaos in South Australia last night as residents rushed to return home as the state introduced a 14-day quarantine period for all visitors from Greater Sydney. 1000s of travellers were stopped at Adelaide airport last night and told they would have to go into 14-day quarantine despite arriving before the midnight curfew. South Australian police commissioner Steve Grant apologised for the mixup which also saw some travellers turned away as the state implemented border closures on roads into the state. The commissioner has now updated the advisement to border patrols.
“Anyone who is already in South Australia from the Greater Sydney area is simply required to get a COVID test on day five and day 12 after the first [day one] test,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
Still, confusion remains as to whether those already in the state from NSW must quarantine – with the SA Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Mike Cusack telling ABC Radio Adelaide this morning anyone who had been in the Greater Sydney area since December 11 must quarantine.
“Based on what we know we now believe, if you have been in Sydney on those dates … you are considered to have been in a high-risk location. On that basis, you need to undertake a 14-day period of quarantine.”
Sydney numbers continue to climb
Health Minister Brad Hazzard told ABC Breakfast this morning that investigations continue to try to identify patient zero as Sydneysiders wait to see if lockdown measures will increase.
“The broad message to the Greater Sydney area is if you can stay at home, stay at home. Northern Beaches residents definitely stay at home unless you’re going out for one of the… designated reasons, which is shopping, education, health, compassionate reasons and exercise. Stay at home,” he said.
“Having said that, I am a Northern Beaches resident and looking around the area yesterday, the only people who were out in great numbers were people getting tested. That is a big positive. I am expecting big numbers today, possibly the biggest ever in terms of the number of people getting tested. They have been out in massive force.”
There are currently 68 cases linked to the Avalon cluster. 28,000 tests were carried out in Sydney on Saturday. On Monday, 15 new cases were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm Sunday night.
NSW recorded 15 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, and an additional eight cases in returned travellers in hotel quarantine. pic.twitter.com/BBkUgXZELD
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 21, 2020