New restrictions introduced for NYE: What you need to know about COVID-19 today, December 31.

Victoria records three new COVID-19 cases.

New Year's Eve restrictions have tightened across Victoria as the state records three new locally acquired coronavirus cases.

The new cases come after three women tested positive for COVID, ending Victoria's two-month coronavirus-free streak on Wednesday. 

Two women in their 40s and a woman in her 70s from Mitcham, Hallam and Mentone were announced last night as testing positive. Two of the women are family members. It's believed the cases are tied to outbreaks in Sydney.

The cases have been linked to the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Black Rock. One of the women and two close contacts attended the restaurant in Black Rock on December 21, as did a returned traveller from NSW, acting premier Jacinta Allan said on Thursday.

That traveller returned to NSW before border permits were put in place and is being tested as a matter of urgency.

Anyone who was at the restaurant on that night is being urged to get tested immediately.

New Year's Eve restrictions introduced in Victoria. 

In light of the new cases, Victorian Acting Premier Jacinta Allan has announced tighter restrictions for New Year's Eve.

From 5pm on Thursday, Victorians will only be able to have a maximum of 15 visitors in their homes, down from 30 people. This limit includes residents but doesn't apply to children under 12.

"If you are planning a party tonight, you will need to reduce your numbers," said Allan.

"We do apologise to people who have put plans in place, who was looking forward to having events in their home, or in other people’s homes, but this is a necessary step, it is on the advice that we have received overnight, of the new cases, and the exposure sites, and we do need to take the steps to keep Victorians safer."

Additionally, facial masks will again be mandatory indoors from 5pm tonight.

NSW record 10 new local cases. 

NSW has recorded 10 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, with five linked to Sydney's northern beaches cluster. 


The latest figures bring the total number of cases linked to the Avalon cluster up to 144. 

While the 10 new cases are a drop from the 18 locally acquired cases reported yesterday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned the numbers are "going to bounce around".

"So pleasingly, we have seen the numbers go down today but it's very volatile," she said. 

"What is really important is for all of us to do everything we can to reduce our mobility, to reduce the number of people that we're mixing with and to make sure that we stick to the rules and the health advice."

Three of the 10 coronavirus cases are linked to the Croydon cluster in Sydney's inner west. The source of this infection, which emerged on Wednesday, is still under investigation. 

New health alerts have since been issued for various venues in Sydney that might have been contaminated. They include Earlwood Bradwell Park RSL, Rhodes Priceline Pharmacy and Bass Hill Plaza.

New Year's Eve restrictions in place for Greater Sydney. 

NSW residents have also had their New Year's plans disrupted after Gladys Berejiklian announced new restrictions for Greater Sydney on Wednesday. 

Household gatherings have been reduced to a maximum of five visitors, including children for all of Greater Sydney, including Wollongong, the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains. 

The restrictions for the northern part of the Northern Beaches remain unchanged, whilst the southern part of the Northern Beaches can only have a maximum of five visitors, including children, from within their zone. 

Outdoor gatherings are also reduced to a maximum of 30 people, down from 50 people. 

NSW will also restrict people in Greater Sydney from visiting aged care facilities until 11.59pm on January 6, when the restrictions will be revised.


SA moves to close the border with NSW. 

South Australia will impose a hard border closure with NSW in response to the spread of COVID-19 cases in Sydney, with officials also keeping their "fingers and toes crossed" in relation to Victoria as cases emerge in Melbourne.

The closure will apply from Friday, with only returning SA residents, people permanently relocating to SA and essential travellers exempt from the new rules.

Returning residents or people relocating will still need to quarantine for 14 days.

A 100-kilometre buffer zone will also be put in place on each side of the SA-NSW border to allow cross-border residents free movement across the state line.

Premier Steven Marshall says while the changes are harsh they are in response to the latest health advice.

"The reality is they are needed and we've acted promptly to put them in place," he said.

"Every time you put a restriction in place, that's going to have an adverse effect on our economy.

"But a larger spread of coronavirus in South Australia would be devastating."

SA Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier said the continued spread of virus cases in Sydney remained a concern, particularly those not directly linked to the original Avalon cluster.

She said it was also a worry that the original source of the infection was still to be identified.

"That means that there may be some chains of transmission that are in other parts of New South Wales that haven't surfaced yet," Professor Spurrier said.

"So that means that there may be more cases, as we move into the to the coming days."

In respect to the emerging situation in Melbourne, she said while it was still early days, there were no imminent plans to impose border restrictions with Victoria.

Efforts to contact trace and track the source of Melbourne's cases, as well as the decision to reimpose local restrictions, would be crucial to SA's ongoing response.

"And of course, I've got absolutely fingers and toes crossed that they get on top of it very quickly," Prof Spurrier said.

In SA, there were two new cases, but both were recently returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Officials also confirmed plans were being finalised to establish a stand-alone health facility to house positive COVID-19 patients in Adelaide, to remove them from the wider hotel quarantine system.

They said a location had been selected and would be revealed in the coming days.

- With AAP. 

Feature Image: Getty.