As Christmas draws nearer and people are solidifying holiday plans, the Sydney Northern Beaches coronavirus cluster is growing, and threatening to change everything.
Of the confirmed cases, one is an aged care worker from retirement village Pittwater Palms. As ten more cases have come back positive overnight, bringing the total up to 28, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has closed a number of aged care homes in the area.
“NSW Health will be issuing a directive to certain aged care facilities on the Northern Beaches to recommend no visitors until we identify the source of the inflection and feel more confident we have it under control,” Ms Berejiklian said.
According to NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant, the strain of the virus is linked to the US, and has been steadily spreading over the last 48 hours. NSW health authorities have urged anyone who lives in the Northern Beaches to monitor any symptoms closely and present for testing as soon as possible.
“I encourage everybody with the mildest symptoms on the Northern Beaches to get testing,” said Ms Berejiklian.
“We have seen an increase in testing overnight.
“We want to get on top of this and don’t want this concerning us in the last few days before Christmas and urging everyone to be as vigilant as ever.”
In a press conference this morning, the premier said that she would wait another 24 to 48 hours before changing any restrictions in the lead up to Christmas.
“But I also do want to stress we don’t want to be in a position just before Christmas to have to restrict the easing of restrictions we have put in place a couple of weeks ago,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I know from the testing regime overnight but also from the behaviour of people today, especially in Avalon and the Northern Beaches, the people are taking our advice and they are listening to the health messages.
“But if we don’t feel that is enough and we feel the number of cases is going up to an extent we are not comfortable with, we will take greater measures in and around the Northern Beaches community and perhaps even through Greater Sydney if we feel that risk is there,” the premier said.