Coronavirus updates LIVE: Fears over outbreak threat in greater Sydney as mystery cases outside northern beaches revealed

Summary

  • NSW recorded three new local COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, three linked to the Avalon cluster.
  • Three mystery cases were reported after the 8pm reporting period from other areas and will be included tomorrow’s new cases.
  • New venues including churches in Wollongong, shopping centres in Figtree and Mona Vale have been visited by confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • New cases in Greater Sydney, outside the northern beaches, detected between December 16 and 27 now number 43 and are scattered across more than 25 suburbs – from Balmain to Bondi and Doonside.
  • There were 16,329 tests done yesterday, significantly less than last week when more than 40,000 daily tests were conducted.

New venues visited by people with coronavirus

NSW Health reported on Tuesday night that new venues including churches in Wollongong and shopping centres in Figtree and Mona Vale have been visited by confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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

Wollongong – St Nektarios Greek Orthodox Church, 39 Atchison St Sunday 27 December 9am-10.15am

Wollongong – The Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, 18 Stewart St Sunday 27 December 10.30am-11am

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:

Figtree Grove Shopping Centre 19 Princes Hwy, Monday 21 December 12.30pm-1.30pm, Wednesday 23 December 8.45am-9am, Thursday 24 December 6.45am-9.30am.

Wollongong Central 200 Crown St, Wednesday 23 December 3.30pm-4pm

Pittwater Place – Mona Vale, 10 Park St, All day, every day from Sunday 13 December to
Saturday 19 December.

Figtree Proust Optical Shop 49, Figtree Grove Shopping Centre, 19 Princes Hwy, Monday 21 December 9.30am-5pm, Wednesday 23 December 9.30am-2pm.

Close contacts from Figtree Proust Optical will be contacted by NSW Health.

There are more than 350 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. 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.

Non-quarantine options for vaccinated travellers being considered by government

The federal government is considering granting international travellers and returning Australians who can prove they have been vaccinated against coronavirus special entry into the country, but experts are warning hotel quarantine arrangements may need to be in place for years.

The World Health Organisation's experts say people who have been vaccinated would still need to take the same precautions as now – including quarantine arrangements – until a level of herd immunity is achieved.

Experts are warning hotel quarantine arrangements may need to be in place for years.Credit:

The federal Department of Health said it was not yet clear whether two of the main vaccines to be used in Australia, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, will prevent coronavirus being transmitted to others, although they are effective at reducing the severity of the disease.

Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said it was clear Australia's quarantine arrangements were here to stay "until we have at least all of our vulnerable population vaccinated and possibly the entire population".

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was not comfortable with having anyone coming from overseas not going through the 14-day quarantine system.

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Ireland begins COVID-19 vacccinations

Ireland began its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on Tuesday by giving a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to a 79-year-old woman at a hospital in Dublin, the health service said, as coronavirus cases surge in the country.

A resident of a nursing home reacts as she gets an injection of the COVID-19 vaccine.Credit:

Annie Lynch was the first person in the country to receive the vaccine at Dublin's St James’s Hospital, it said. Health staff and patients at four hospitals were also vaccinated.

"Today is a new day. It marks a new chapter in our fight," Health Minister Stephen Donnelly told RTE Radio.

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Investigators probe mystery cases

Good morning and welcome to our live coronavirus coverage.

Here's a look at the top COVID stories from the past 24 hours:

Narrabeen Lagoon Bridge at Ocean Street on Monday, the border between the northern and southern bubbles on the northern beaches. Credit:James Brickwood

  • NSW recorded three new local COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, all of which are linked to the Avalon cluster and all in people identified as close contacts of confirmed cases who were isolating
  • Three additional mystery cases were reported after the 8pm reporting period from other areas and will be included in today's new cases as contact tracers probe them
  • New venues including churches in Wollongong and shopping centres in Figtree and Mona Vale have been visited by confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • New cases in Greater Sydney, outside the northern beaches, detected between December 16 and 27 now number 43 and are scattered across more than 25 suburbs – from Balmain to Bondi and Doonside
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there "will be relief" for people in the lower northern beaches on January 3, foreshadowing an announcement on January 2
  • There were 16,329 tests on Monday, significantly fewer than last week when more than 40,000 daily tests were conducted
  • Five Sydney travellers were fined and thrown into quarantine after allegedly lying to Queensland police
  • The Russian COVID-19 death toll is at least double previous reports
  • Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has threatened to deport backpackers who attended a Christmas beach party in Bronte
  • Sydney has held on to its beloved New Year’s Test after a desperate bid by the NSW government and the state's cricket officials to keep the iconic fixture at the SCG

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