Sydney's Northern Beaches placed under lockdown.
Residents of Sydney's Northern Beaches will go into lockdown, as authorities race to contain a cluster of COVID-19 cases in the region.
NSW recorded 23 locally acquired cases of the virus in the 24 hours to 8pm Friday, including the 10 announced earlier in the day.
Speaking to the press, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said 21 of the new cases have been linked directly to the cluster stemming from the suburb of Avalon, and the two under investigation are also suspected to be related.
There were 12,374 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with 7,531 in the previous 24 hours.— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 19, 2020
There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW. To find your nearest clinic visit https://t.co/3q77lQTr7P or contact your GP.
The new restrictions for the Northern Beaches will come into effect at 5pm Saturday and will last until midnight Wednesday.
During that period, Northern Beaches residents are only permitted to leave their home for essential purposes including work, exercise, shopping, medical care and to care for vulnerable relatives.
The premier also strongly urged people in Greater Sydney to cancel non-essential activity over the same period.
"We are asking you to do this in good faith," she said. "If you are planning a night out tonight, we ask you to consider changing those plans and staying at home. We want people to stay at home tonight and the next few nights so that we can ensure the virus does not spread if there are any fragments of the virus outside of the Northern Beaches, and we also want to make sure that we give all of Sydney the best chance we have to have a good Christmas."
The premier also flagged the possibility of wider restrictions if the virus spreads.
"We will be considering today after consulting obviously the relevant people, whether this time tomorrow we do revert back to some restrictions in Greater Sydney," she said. "But we are still considering that. I just want to put everybody on notice that that is a possibility and that will depend on the health advice sent to us during the course of the day."