While the whole of the Greater Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains and Central Coast, has been under tightened health orders and a new mask mandate since just before Christmas, life has been entirely on hiatus for the residents of the northern zone of the Northern Beaches LGA. As the epicentre of the Avalon cluster, the most significant surge to occur in NSW since August and the Crossroads Hotel outbreak, the area north of the Narrabeen Lagoon Bridge has been under hard lockdown since December 19.
However, as of 12:01am on Sunday, January 10, the northern zone of the Northern Beaches will have its lockdown rules eased in line with the restrictions already in place across Greater Sydney, including the new mask mandate. NSW health minister Brad Hazzard announced the lifting of the lockdown measures at the state’s daily media briefing, as four new cases of community transmission were reported. It means anyone from Greater Sydney can now visit the area, including the popular seaside communities of Narrabeen, Mona Vale, Avalon and Palm Beach.
While NSW's daily case numbers have remained low, the issue of community transmission is persistent in Sydney. Dr Kerry Chant, the state’s chief medical officer, said that sewerage tests indicated there could be undiagnosed cases in the Ulladulla region. She called for anyone experiencing even minor symptoms in the suburbs of Narrawallee, Milton, Mollybrook Beach, Kings Point, Burrill Lake, Dolphin Point and Lake Tabourie – a catchment of more than 32,000 Sydneysiders – to get tested and self isolate immediately.
Following the diagnosis of three new cases in Brisbane, Queensland authorities have imposed a precautionary three-day lockdown of the state capital. NSW acting premier John Barilaro has called for anyone currently in NSW who has visited metropolitan Brisbane since December 2 to also observe the lockdown and self-isolate for three days.
However, Barilaro was also keen to impress that outbreaks in Sydney were an inevitability until the population could be vaccinated and urged Sydneysiders to continue living their lives as normally as possible. “When cases emerge, our response will be hard, fast and local,” he said, adding that the state’s decisions on restrictions would always be led by the health advice.