Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria-NSW border to close midnight January 1, New Year’s Eve gathering restrictions tightened in both states as local cases rise

Summary

  • NSW recorded 10 new cases of local transmission, three linked to the Croydon cluster to 8pm on Wednesday. A further five cases were linked to the Avalon cluster and one to a medical transport worker grouping. The final case, from western Sydney, remains under investigation.
  • Victoria has shut its border to NSW and revealed eight new COVID cases in 24 hours, ending the state’s two-month run of zero local cases. Residents have been told they must now limit their New Year parties to 15 people, down from 30, while masks will be mandatory indoors again from 5pm on Thursday.
  • From today in NSW, households gatherings will be limited to five guests in Greater Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains. 
  • Victoria’s Royal Brighton Yacht Club has closed after a positive case visited the venue on Tuesday, December 29.
  • A fifth checkpoint will be added at the Queensland-NSW border this weekend to reduce the traffic delays heading north.

What's happened so far today? Here's a summary to recap

It's been a busy morning with a flurry of press conferences and announcements about COVID-19 as 2020 draws to a close. Here's a summary:

  • NSW recorded 10 new local cases, with one case from western Sydney still under investigation. The others are linked to:
    • The Avalon cluster (five, for a total of 144)
    • The Croydon cluster (three, total of nine) and
    • The patient transport workers from last week (one)

    Venue alerts

    Several venues visited by positive COVID-19 cases (interactive maps embedded below) have been released by NSW and Victorian health departments since last night.

    NSW

    Anyone who visited any of the following venues at the listed times is considered a close contact who must get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.

    • Monkey Mania Bankstown Sports Club on Monday, 28 December, from 10am to 12pm
    • Bankstown La Piazza on Monday, 28 December, from 12pm to 2:00pm
    • Bass Hill Hair Management on Thursday, 24 December, from 11.15am to 12.30pm
    • Venus nail salon in Bass Hill on Thursday, 24 December, from 12.30pm to 1pm
    • Anytime Fitness at Kings Park on Sunday, December 20, from 9.30am to 11.45am

    Anyone who attended the following venue at the listed times must get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive further advice from NSW Health:

    • Earlwood Bardwell Park RSL, 18 Hartill-Law Avenue, Bardwell Park 2207, Monday, December 28, 6pm-11.30pm.

    Anyone who visited any of the following venues at the listed times is considered a casual contact who must get tested immediately and isolate until a negative result is received:

    • Rhodes Priceline Pharmacy, Rhodes Waterside, 1 Rider Boulevard, Thursday, December 24, 9am-12pm.
    • BWS Bass Hill, Bass Hill Plaza, 753 Hume Highway, Bass Hill, Thursday, December 24, 1.10pm-1.30pm.

    Anyone who visited any of the following venues at the listed times should monitor for symptoms and get tested immediately and isolate if they appear:

    • Martin Reserve, Croydon Park, Seymour Street, Croydon Park NSW 2133, Sunday, December 27, 12pm-12.40pm.
    • Costco Lidcombe, 17-21 Parramatta Road, Lidcombe NSW 2141, Thursday, December 24, 10am-10.20am and between 4.20pm-4.45pm.
    • Bunnings Lidcombe, 23-29 Parramatta Road, Lidcombe NSW 2141, Thursday, December 24, 4pm-4.20pm.
    • Auburn BCF (Boating Camping Fishing) Corner of Parramatta Road and Rawson Street, Auburn NSW 2144, Wednesday, December 23, 10.15am-10.45am.

    The full list of exposure sites is here. Find your nearest clinic here or contact your GP.

    Victoria

    People who were at these places should immediately be tested.

    • Cape Schanck National Golf Club on Wednesday, December 30 between 11.40am and 1.30pm
    • Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Black Rock on December 21
    • Holy Family Parish Doveton Catholic church on December 26 between 4pm – 6pm
    • Kmart, Big W, Target, Millers, King of Gifts and Lacoste at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre on December 26 between 9am – 11am
    • Mentone/Parkdale Beach on December 27 between 10am – 4.30pm
    • Century City Walk and Mocha Jo's in Glen Waverley on December 28, between 1.30pm – 5pm
    • Katialo restaurant in the Eaton Mall in Oakleigh on December 28, between 7pm-8.15pm

    More venues will likely be added here throughout the day.

    Victorians returning from NSW will need to get COVID-19 test

    Victorians returning from NSW on Friday will need to get a COVID-19 test and isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether they return a negative result.

    Those coming back to Victoria from a 'green zone' on Thursday – such as regional NSW – will just need to get tested and isolate until a negative test is returned.

    All of NSW will become a 'red zone' from 11.59pm on Friday – meaning no person can re-enter Victoria if they have stayed in NSW. Wollongong and the Blue Mountains become a 'red zone' from 11.59pm on Thursday.

    Acting Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan said there were potentially "tens of thousands" of Victorians still in NSW.

    "This is going to cause some disruption for Victorians who may be holidaying, we do apologise for this disruption, however these difficult decisions are about protecting the community," she said.

    "We have been sending a very strong message for the best part of the week and a half, 10 days now, advising people to think very carefully about their travel to NSW."

    Victoria’s testing chief Jeroen Weimar urged any Victorians who had been in NSW over the last 10 days to get tested, regardless of where they had visited.

    "If you have not yet been tested you should be, these get tested immediately. If you have already been tested and you still feel have concerns, get tested again," he said.

    Victoria to close borders with NSW tomorrow

    Victoria will close its borders to New South Wales from 11.59pm tomorrow. Victorian Acting premier Jacinta Allen announced the decision in a late afternoon press conference.

    "I'm here to advise that from 11:59pm 1 January 2021, Victoria will close its borders to the entire state of NSW," Ms Allen said.

    People will be required to have permits if they want to be in the Green Zone tonight.Credit:Wolter Peeters

    Views within the Green Zone at the Opera House on New Year’s Eve. Credit:Wolter Peeters

    Herald photographer Steven Saphore has captured queues of cars lining up for COVID-19 testing at a Summer Hill clinic. The clinic is the closest one to Croydon, the suburb of a growing cluster.

    Drivers queue up at the Summer Hill testing clinic in Sydney.Credit:Steven Saphore

    COVID cases and close contacts tee off at Melbourne golf courses

    A COVID-positive person in Victoria played a round of golf at Woodlands Golf Club in Mordialloc on Monday with a group of other golfers.

    Management of the course, one of Melbourne’s prestigious so-called "sandbelt" clubs, emailed members on Thursday informing them that a club member had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

    The member had a drink in the bar between 4.40pm-5.15pm on Monday.

    The course’s bar has been closed but the course remains open.

    The golfer’s playing partners are isolating as they await test results. Separately, a close contact of a positive case played golf at the National Golf Club at Cape Schanck on Wednesday.

    The golfer and his playing partners left the course when the person received a call informing him he was a close contact, according to an email to members.

    It is not known if the Woodlands case and National close contact are linked.

    China gives conditional approval to vaccine

    China has given conditional approval to a coronavirus vaccine developed by state-owned Sinopharm.

    The vaccine is the first one approved for general use in China.

    Chen Shifei, the deputy commissioner of China’s National Medical Products Administration, said at a news conference Thursday that the decision had been made the previous night.

    The vaccine is an inactivated, two-dose vaccine from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, a subsidiary of state-owned conglomerate Sinopharm. The company announced Wednesday that preliminary data from last-stage trials had shown it to be 79.3 per cent effective.

    Sinopharm is one of at least five Chinese developers that are in a global race to create vaccines for the disease that has killed more than 1.8 million people.

    AP

    NSW woman arrested after speeding through border checkpoint

    Victorian police used a tyre-deflation device to stop the car of a New South Wales woman 14 hours after she allegedly evaded a checkpoint to enter the state.

    Police say the woman, 57, from Bateau Bay – part of the red zone on the NSW central coast – drove through a COVID-19 checkpoint in East Gippsland on Wednesday morning.

    "About 4am on Wednesday 30 December, a grey Volkswagen Passat station wagon allegedly evaded the Chandlers Creek checkpoint at a fast rate of speed," police said.

    "A pursuit was initiated but soon terminated owing to increasing risk to the community, caused by the alleged manner of the woman’s driving."

    Police claim the woman had earlier tried to enter Victoria and was directed to return to NSW and apply for a permit to enter.

    About 5pm Wednesday, an off-duty police officer spotted the woman driving on the other side of Victoria, near Nhill, allegedly en route to South Australia.

    About an hour later, in a joint response by general duties police, highway patrol and detectives from Western Region, officers deployed a tyre-deflation device on the Western Highway.

    Police say the woman was arrested without incident and will be assessed and interviewed at a later date for alleged offences including conduct endangering life, failing to stop on police direction and contravening Chief Health Officer directions.

    On Thursday, Health Minister Martin Foley said he was upset to hear about the matter, and that the woman had allegedly turned her car lights off to avoid detection.

    "The person is now in quarantine and will be facing further police action. So I don’t want to prejudice any possible case, but anyone who is refused entry from NSW, particularly from a red zone, is refused entry on public health grounds."

    He thanked the 700 police officers working on more than 30 border checkpoints.

    New venues in south west Sydney and Wollongong

    NSW Health has released further venues in south-western Sydney, and one in Wollongong, which have been visited by confirmed cases of COVID-19.

    Anyone who visited any of the following venues at the listed times should monitor for symptoms and if they occur get tested immediately and self-isolate until you receive a negative result:

    • Chullora Fish Market, Shop 6A, 355-357 Waterloo Rd, Chullora, December 23 between 6.40am and 7.10am
    • Liverpool Westfield, Macquarie Street, Liverpool, December 23 between 1pm and 3pm
    • Mancini’s Pizza @ Belfield, 21 Burwood Road, Belfield, December 24 between 7pm and 7.15pm
    • 7 Eleven, 301-305 Hume Highway, Greenacre, December 26 between 4.30pm and 5pm.
    • Myer Stockland Shellharbour, 211 Lake Entrance Road, Shellharbour, December 27 between 12pm and 12.40pm
    • Coles Figtree Grove Shopping Centre, 19 Princes Highway, Figtree, December 28 between 4.45pm and 5.20pm

    To find your nearest clinic visit, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics or contact your GP.

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