Northern beaches lockdown extended

A lockdown in Sydney’s northern beaches area will be extended for at least another week and a half after NSW recorded another five cases of community transmission of COVID-19.

The stay-at-home orders applying to northern beaches residents north of the Narrabeen Bridge will be extended until at least January 9, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Monday.

The lockdown for the southern zone of the northern beaches will be in place until January 2.

But those residents under lockdown while the rest of Sydney is free to move about will get a little reprieve on New Year’s Eve when small gatherings will be allowed.

Ms Berejiklian thanked northern beaches residents for their patience but said she could not ease restrictions any further because health authorities still hadn’t identified all the links in the cases.

Restrictions for greater Sydney and regional NSW will remain largely unchanged over the New Year’s Eve period, with the only difference being that outdoor gatherings in greater Sydney can have up to 50 attendees.

The state recorded another five locally transmitted cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday. Four are linked to the so-called Avalon cluster, which now totals 126 cases.

The last case is linked to a previously reported case on the northern beaches whose source of infection is not yet linked to the Avalon cluster and is under investigation.

Testing numbers continue to fall. Just 15,300 people were tested in the last 24-hour period, compared to 23,000 the day before. A one-day record of nearly 70,000 tests was set just before Christmas.

The premier urged NSW residents to continue to get tested to give the government confidence in its future decisions.

The changes in outdoor gathering sizes in Greater Sydney comes after NSW Police broke up several large gatherings during the Christmas holiday period.

Police fined 11 young people at a party at North Bondi for failing to comply with COVID-19 rules.

At least 40 people were at the party and most ran away when officers arrived just after 11pm on Boxing Day.

Two women and nine men were fined $1000 each because indoor gatherings were limited to only 10 visitors.

Another man was fined on Christmas Day after he allegedly went from an unauthorised party at Bronte Beach to a gathering at Centennial Park that also exceeded coronavirus restrictions.

A Newtown restaurant was fined $5000 after police attended on December 23 and learned the owner did not have a COVID-safe plan.

Police said there were 27 people too many inside and a crowd outside.

On Sunday night, NSW Health issued new alerts for a number of venues in Casula 34km south-west of the Sydney CBD.

The northern beaches lockdown means indoor gatherings are currently banned.

Outdoor get-togethers of up to five on the northern end of the peninsular are permissible and up to 10 on the southern end.

For the rest of Sydney as well as Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, 10-person private gathering restrictions apply.

© AAP 2020