NSW has reported ten new cases of coronavirus as Victoria breaks its two-month record of no local transmissions, reporting three new cases of COVID-19 today.
In response to the new case numbers, Victorian acting premier Jacinta Allan has instigated new restrictions for New Year’s Eve celebrations for the state with the number of visitors allowed in a home now halved from 30 to 15. Meanwhile, NSW residents have also had their new year celebrations curtailed with visitor numbers reduced to a maximum of five people (including children).
Victorians will also now also be subject to mandatory mask-wearing when indoors from 5pm tonight.
Allan apologised for the recent turn of events but suggested it was vital that Victorians err on the side of caution to avoid another major outbreak.
“We certainly do apologise to people who have put plans in place, who were looking forward to having events but this is a necessary step, it’s on the advice that we’ve received overnight,” she said.
NSW’s local transmissions have grown by 10 to 8pm last night. Five of these case are linked to the Avalon cluster; one is a close contact of the previously mentioned health worker and one is at this stage unknown; with the so-called Croydon cluster rising to 9 with 3 new cases recorded today.
Chief medical officer Dr Jenny Chant said NSW testing numbers topped 27,000 to 8pm last night compared to 17,000 tests on the previous day. Chant said maintaining high test numbers is essential during this crucial stage.
“Can I urge the community to strive for even higher rates,” Chant said. “Even with the most minimal symptoms and if you have any symptoms today, don’t go anywhere get tested and self isolate.”
With cases numbers in the Eastern states, a growing concern South Australian premier Steven Marshall has announced the state will introduce a hard border with NSW from midnight tonight, with returning travellers and essential workers so far exempt from the impending closure.
Speaking of the border closure Marshall said the state was acting on health advice following the recent surge in NSW cases.
“As of midnight tonight, in fact, one minute past midnight tonight, we will be putting a hard border back in place. This will have very few exceptions… only South Australians returning, people relocating permanently or essential workers will be exempt from this arrangement.
“The South Australians returning or those people relocating will need to do 14 days of mandatory self-isolation, Marshall said.
In other news, Jobseeker recipients will face a cut to their payments from tomorrow with the payment set to drop by $100 from January 1 2021.