Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria, WA, South Australia slam borders shut to NSW as more locally acquired cases are reported; Sydneysiders trapped after  Northern Territory becomes last state to require mandatory quarantine for greater Sydney

Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria, WA, South Australia slam borders shut to NSW as more locally acquired cases are reported; Sydneysiders trapped after Northern Territory becomes last state to require mandatory quarantine for greater Sydney

December 31, 2020

Summary

  • NSW recorded 10 new cases of local transmission, three linked to the Croydon cluster to 8pm on Wednesday. A further five cases were linked to the Avalon cluster and one to a medical transport worker grouping. The final case, from western Sydney, remains under investigation.
  • Victoria has shut its border to NSW and revealed eight new COVID cases in 24 hours, ending the state’s two-month run of zero local cases. Residents have been told they must now limit their New Year parties to 15 people, down from 30, while masks will be mandatory indoors again from 5pm on Thursday.
  • From today in NSW, households gatherings will be limited to five guests in Greater Sydney, Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains. 
  • Victoria’s Royal Brighton Yacht Club has closed after a positive case visited the venue on Tuesday, December 29.
  • A fifth checkpoint will be added at the Queensland-NSW border this weekend to reduce the traffic delays heading north.

Victoria to close borders with NSW tomorrow

Victoria will close its borders to New South Wales from 11.59pm tomorrow. Victorian Acting premier Jacinta Allan announced the decision in a late afternoon press conference. People living in border communities in NSW and Victoria will be able to use their drivers’ license or ID as a permit to travel between the two states.

"I'm here to advise that from 11:59pm 1 January 2021, Victoria will close its borders to the entire state of NSW," Ms Allan said.

This was the scene outside Pellegrini’s In the early evening. Credit:Photo: Tom Cowie

There will be no fireworks in Melbourne this year, with authorities telling people not to come into the city unless they have a dinner reservation.

Sydney road closures and when they reopen

Starting from 7pm roads in the city including sections of Grosvenor St, Bridge St and College St will close. In North Sydney, Kirribilli and Milsons Point various roads will also be closed from 7pm.

Roads are closed across Sydney tonightCredit:9

The Cahill Expressway southbound and roads in Circular Quay including Pitt St, Alfred St and Loftus St closed at 5pm. Roads in Circular Quay and The Rocks including sections of George St, Hickson Rd, Young St, Phillip St and Macquarie St closed from 2pm.

From 10pm: roads around Wynyard including sections of York St, Clarence St, King St, Margaret St, Erskine St and other nearby roads will be closed.

From 11pm: the Sydney Harbour Bridge in both directions, Cahill Expressway Overpass westbound lanes and the citybound lanes of the Anzac Bridge will be closed until 1.30am.

Most roads will reopen by 4am in the city and 3am in North Sydney on New Year’s Day.

Special event clearways will be in effect on various roads in the city and North Sydney too.

These clearways are strict no-parking zones and apply to local residents and businesses with parking permits or RMS Mobility Scheme permit holders. Vehicles left in signposted clearways will be towed and a fee applies.

Sydney CBD: special event clearways will be in effect from 12pm on roads in Circular Quay and The Rocks, and from 3pm in the Sydney CBD area until 4am on New Year's Day.

North Sydney: special event clearways will be in effect on various roads in Kirribilli, Milsons Point, McMahons Point and North Sydney from 3pm on New Year's Eve until 3am on New Year's Day.

See the Sydney CBD road closures and clearways map.

See the North Sydney area road closure and clearway map.

The Harbour Bridge and Anzac Bridge will reopen by 1.30am, while the Cahill Expressway lanes 7 + 8 and eastbound lanes of the Circular Quay Overpass will remain closed until 6am on New Year’s Day.

Some roads in local council areas will also be closed. More details here.

Details of five new Victorian cases released

The Victorian Health Department has confirmed the age and gender of the five additional cases recorded on Thursday, which came on top of the three recorded on Wednesday.

They are a child, a woman in her 70s, two men in their 70s and a man in his 40s.

All eight cases are linked to a transmission event that health authorities suspect occurred on December 21 at a Thai restaurant in Black Rock, where a NSW traveller dined with one of the initial positive cases.

Inside the green zone, Circular Quay on NYE 2020

Each year Circular Quay is bustling with thousands of people ready to see in the new year with a bang. This year could not be more different.

Police and event organisers were checking the permits of those arriving in the CBD on New Year’s Eve.Credit:Wolter Peeters

Fences have been erected around the iconic site, with entry into the area restricted to the 300 people who have been granted Green Zone permits.

Revellers were greeted at entry points with offers of face masks and asked by police or event organisers to show their permits.

The area around the Opera House stands empty, except for the police and event organisers walking through the area.

Sydney Harbour is nowhere near as busy as usual on New Year’s EveCredit:Dominic Lorrimer

It was also quiet on the water.

Rob Goldsack from H20 Water Taxis said it was "gobsmacking".

“I would say maybe 25 per cent of normal,” he told Nine News. "There are no boats in Farm Cove. It’s normally stacked out.’’

US detective allegedly assaults man in a store for not wearing a mask

A Baltimore police detective is facing 10 years in jail after he allegedly slammed a man to the ground who refused to wear a face mask inside a grocery store.

Prosecutors said Detective Andre Pringle was stationed at a grocery store in West Baltimore when 25-year-old Brandon Walker entered the store with a mask on top of his head but not covering his face, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Prosecutors say Walker yelled and cursed Pringle as he escorted him outside of the store. Once outside, Pringle slammed Walker to the ground face first, prosecutors said.

Pringle has been charged with a misdemeanour assault while Walker was charged with multiple crimes, including resisting arrest and assault. Walker's charges were dropped in November but he pleaded guilty to violating the state of emergency orders and was put on probation.

Inside Sydney's green zone NYE 2020

Here are some photos of what the city looked like this afternoon inside the green zone.

The usual crowds were absent from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair on New Years Eve. Credit:Wolter Peeters

Mrs Macquarie’s chairCredit:Photo. Dominic Lorrimer

Police patrolling the Sydney Opera House forecourt on Thursday afternoon. Credit:Wolter Peeters

Police outside the Sydney Opera House on New Year’s Eve.Credit:Photo: Wolter Peeters

Daily cases surge past 1000 in Tokyo for first time

Japan began its New Year's holiday period recently as millions of people usually move around the country, Tokyo city's governor pleaded "please emphasise life over fun,"

Gov Yuriko Koike told a news conference, calling on people to stay at home as much as possible over the holiday, Japan Today reported.

"The situation is extremely severe, we are facing up to a huge wave of virus cases we have not seen before," she added. "The number of cases could explode at any time. Any one of us could become infected at any time … If we do not stamp this out now, we will be facing a much worse situation."

Driving in Sydney tonight? Here's a quick guide

Some roads around North Sydney, Kirribilli, McMahons Point and Lavender Bay are now closed including the High St and Mount St on-ramps to the Cahill Expwy, Blues Point Rd, Lavender Cr, Olympic Dr, and sections of Milsons Rd.

These roads will be closed until 3am.

More details here.

Victorian testing facilities open late tonight

The following Victorian testing facilities open late tonight:

Open until 8pm Eastern Health, Wantirna Trash and Treasure Market, 251 Mountain Hwy, Wantirna

Open until 7.30pm Northern Hospital Epping

Open until 6.30pm

  • Hume City Council
  • Chadstone Golfers Drive
  • Darebin Arts Centre (RTS21dare)
  • Mickleham Road
  • Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC)
  • Heidelberg Repatriation Carpark
  • Springers Keysborough
  • Victoria University (St Albans Campus)
  • Swinburne University Wantirna
  • Wyndham Civic Centre

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