A firefighter is among seven new Covid-19 cases recorded in New South Wales overnight, while health authorities have revealed a pub worker caught the virus three weeks ago.
All the new cases have been linked to Sydney’s Northern Beaches, bringing the total to 122 cases, with authorities no closer to knowing the source of the outbreak.
Six of the cases have been linked to the Avalon cluster and five of those cases are already in isolation.
The seventh case was a firefighter, who works at Crows Nest, who visited the Belrose Hotel on December 11.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant revealed a worker at the same venue had come forward for a test on December 23, with results showing they were infected two to three weeks ago.
She explained he had a ‘very short period of fever’ on December 10, and has likely been infected since that time – meaning potential contact with thousands of people.
Gladys Berejiklian announced 24,000 people had been tested in the past 24 hours as the Northern Beaches cluster grew (pictured, an empty Manly beach on Christmas Day)
Dr Kerry Chant (pictured, left, with Gladys Berejiklian, right, on Sunday) admitted contact tracers still had no idea how the new outbreak began
‘So he basically came home from work, a bit tired and then went to bed, woke up with a bit of a fever, took his temperature, was a bit of a fever and then woke up the next morning and totally fine, no fever,’ Dr Chant said on Sunday.
Adding to the mystery, the infected worker was not present when the firefighter visited the pub, nor when another Covid-19 case went to the bottle shop at the hotel on December 17.
Dr Chant said health teams were desperately working to figure out the ‘missing link’ between the Belrose Hotel and the Northern Beaches.
‘What we have actually asked people to do is anyone who was at the Belrose Hotel any time between 12 to 6pm on 11 December we’re asking you to get a test,’ Dr Chant said.
‘Irrespective of whether you have symptoms or not, please go out and undertake testing.’
Dr Chant said authorities were looking into a possible connection between the Belrose Hotel and Avalon RSL and Bowling Centre cluster – which has been at the centre of the outbreak.
The firefighter had visited the Belrose Hotel (pictured), in Belrose, for 90 minutes on December 11
New South Wales has recorded seven new Covid-19 cases overnight with all cases linked to the Northern Beaches cluster (pictured, shoppers in Sydney on Boxing Day)
‘We’re obviously doing some work to cross-check whether anyone attends the Belrose and also the RSL,’ she said.
‘We’re also asking the community to come forward for testing to help us and find these missing links but at the moment, I do not want to speculate.’
There were 24,000 people tested in the 24 hours up to 8pm on Saturday.
One new case, a household contact, has also been linked to the Rose of Australia Hotel in Erskineville, in Sydney’s inner-west.
Dr Chant also confirmed a traveller, who was Covid-19 positive but did not know at the time, flew from Sydney to Griffith on December 21.
All 28 passengers and one flight attendant have been tested and so far 19 test have returned negative.
Health authorities are still waiting on the remaining ten results.
If you live in the northern part of the Northern Beaches, you are allowed to have outdoor gatherings of just five (pictured, testing queues in Avalon)
For the rest of Sydney as well as Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, ten-person private gathering restrictions again apply (pictured, shoppers on Boxing Day in Sydney)
The cases come as stay-at-home orders imposed on residents of Sydney’s Northern Beaches is reinstated after the conclusion of Christmas festivities.
After a three-day reprieve for small indoor Christmas gatherings, the Northern Beaches has from Sunday returned to restrictions barring indoor gatherings.
The changes mean Northern Beaches residents will be bound by the same rules they were on December 23.
If you live in the northern part of the Northern Beaches, you are allowed to have outdoor gatherings of just five, while southern areas can gather in groups of ten outside.
People may neither enter nor exit the local government area.
For the rest of Sydney as well as Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, ten-person private gathering restrictions again apply.
The changes mean Northern Beaches residents will be bound by the same rules they were on December 23 (pictured, Manly beach)
If you live in the northern part of the Northern Beaches, you are allowed to have outdoor gatherings of just five, while southern areas can gather in groups of ten outside (pictured, The Corso at Manly on Boxing Day)
Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged residents to be patient and promised further announcements on restrictions would be made in the lead-up to New Year’s Eve (pictured, Manly on Boxing Day)
This was increased over the Christmas period to allow ten guests as well as unlimited numbers of children under ten.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged residents to be patient and promised further announcements on restrictions would be made in the lead-up to New Year’s Eve.
‘I appreciate frustration levels are increasing as we get closer to New Year’s Eve and days we stay at home increase,’ she said.
‘We hope to have some clear information for everybody tomorrow or the latest the day after on New Year’s Eve.
‘And I just ask everybody for your patience. But everyday that goes past gives us more information and more confidence to make decisions which we think will ease the pressure on communities at this stage.’
NEW RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE FROM MIDNIGHT DEC 26
These restrictions are in place until 11:59pm December 26:
Northern Beaches peninsula zone (North of Narrabeen Bridge, and east of the Baha’i Temple):
This area will return to ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions, with no indoor gatherings allowed.
Up to five people, including children, will be able to gather outdoors for exercise or recreational activity.
People may not enter or leave this zone.
For the remainder (southern zone) of the Northern Beaches:
Given the ongoing risk, this area will return to ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions, with no indoor gatherings allowed.
Up to 10 people, including children, will be able to gather outdoors for exercise or recreational activity.
People may not enter or leave this zone.
Residents of the Northern Beaches are able to leave for four permitted reasons:
Shopping for food or other goods and services
Travel for work or education purposes if unable to work from home
Medical or caring reasons
Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Woolongong and the Central Coast:
School-aged children now constitute as part of a household’s 10 visitor cap. No other changes.
In regional NSW, nothing will change.