21 December 2020

NSW recorded 15 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, and an additional eight cases in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

All 15 locally acquired cases are linked to the Avalon cluster. Investigations continue into the source of this cluster, which now numbers 83.

The total number of cases in NSW is 4,582 since the beginning of the pandemic.

There were a record 38,578 tests reported to 8pm last night, compared with 28,210 in the previous 24 hours. This has been the highest amount of COVID-19 testing ever done in a single day.

NSW Health thanks the community for their excellent response in coming forward for testing and following public health advice. This is vital to helping us to contain the virus by stopping community transmission.

Confirmed cases (including interstate residents in NSW health care facilities) 4,582
Deaths (in NSW from confirmed cases) 55
Total tests carried out 3,731,325

Of the 23 new cases to 8pm last night:

  • 15 cases are locally acquired and linked to the Avalon cluster
  • Eight were acquired overseas and are in hotel quarantine.

COVID-19 cases linked to the Avalon cluster have visited many locations throughout Sydney’s northern beaches, lower north shore, eastern and southern suburbs. A full list of locations and public transport routes, and the associated public health advice, is available from the NSW Government website

Due to the growing risk from the Avalon outbreak, new restrictions were introduced for Greater Sydney from midnight last night to reduce the risk of further community transmission. These include:

  • Household gatherings are limited to 10 visitors (until 11.59pm on Wednesday 23 December).
  • The one person per four square metre rule is being re-introduced for all indoor settings, including hospitality venues and places of worship.
  • A cap of 300 people will apply for hospitality venues and places of worship.
  • Singing in indoor venues will now be restricted, returning to a maximum of five performers indoors, provided they are 1.5m from one another and at least 5m from the audience who are not allowed to sing along.
  • Dancefloors will not be permitted, except for weddings, when a maximum of 20 from the wedding party will be permitted.

For the purposes of the Order, ‘Greater Sydney’ comprises the following local government areas: Bayside, Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Burwood, Camden, Campbelltown, Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown, Central Coast, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Hunters Hill, Inner West, Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Liverpool, Mosman, North Sydney, Northern Beaches, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, Sydney, The Hills Shire, Waverley, Willoughby, Wollondilly, Wollongong and Woollahra.

People in Greater Sydney are also urged not to visit residential aged care facilities, disability services or vulnerable people unless it is critical. This advice will be re-assessed on Wednesday 23 December.

People across Greater Sydney are also advised to wear masks in indoor settings such as shops and hospitality venues, in line with advice already issued to those in the Northern Beaches.

‘Stay at home’ orders in place for residents of the Northern Beaches local government area (LGA) will also continue until 11.59pm on Wednesday 23 December to control the spread of COVID-19. Further clear advice will be provided to the community before Christmas.

All residents of the Northern Beaches LGA are required to stay at home, unless permitted to leave for certain reasons, under the Public Health Order issued on Saturday 19 December.

Acceptable reasons for leaving home include shopping for food and other essential goods and services; travelling to work or an educational institution if working or studying from home is not possible; exercising; seeking medical care; providing carer’s responsibilities and meeting compassionate needs. It is strongly recommended masks are worn when leaving isolation for these permitted reasons.

Any residents of the Northern Beaches LGA who left the area on or since Thursday 10 December 2020 must comply with the same restrictions that apply to the Northern Beaches, regardless of their current location.

Non-residents who have visited the Northern Beaches on or after Thursday 10 December should monitor closely for symptoms and get tested if any appear, no matter how mild. Anyone who visited the Northern Beaches since 10 December is also urged to check the NSW Government website for locations visited by confirmed cases and follow the associated health advice for the relevant venues if they have visited any of them.

This Public Health Order also requires the closing of hospitality venues and function centres in the Northern Beaches LGA, with the exception of businesses offering takeaway food. Gyms and places of worship will also close. Further information on the Public Health Order is available from the NSW Government website

Anyone in NSW with even the mildest symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat or runny nose, is asked to come forward immediately for testing, then isolate until they receive a negative result.

There are more than 300 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 testing clinics or contact your GP.

NSW Health is treating 80 COVID-19 cases, none of whom are in intensive care. Most cases (95 per cent) are being treated in non-acute, out-of-hospital care, including returned travellers in the Special Health Accommodation.

Likely source of confirmed COVID-19 cases in NSW

Likely source of infectionCases past 24 hours*Cases past 7 days**All cases
Overseas 8382,536
Interstate 0090
Locally acquired – linked to known case or cluster 15831,520
Locally acquired – no links to known case or cluster01434
Locally acquired – investigation ongoing 022
Under initial investigation000

Note: Case counts reported for a particular day may vary over time due to ongoing investigations and case review.

*notified from 8pm 19 December 2020 to 8pm 20 December 2020
**from 8pm 14 December 2020 to 8pm 20 December 2020

Returned travellers in hotel quarantine to date

Since 29 March 2020 Count
Symptomatic travellers tested 8099
Found positive 168
Since 30 June 2020Count
Asymptomatic travellers screened at day 2 60,035
Found positive357
Since 15 May 2020Count
Asymptomatic travellers screened at day 1072,357
Found positive163