Big change for northern beaches


The chief medical officer has revoked a COVID-19 classification for Sydney’s northern beaches after the region brought a pre-Christmas outbreak under control.

The northern beaches were declared a hot spot on December 18, with residents forced into lockdown in the lead-up to Christmas.

The number of cases linked to the cluster stands at 151, but chief medical officer Paul Kelly said a recent downturn in transmission had prompted the listing to be removed.

“Today I’m revoking that hot-spot definition on the basis of the fantastic work that’s been done, mainly by the community, in taking note of all the public health orders and lockdown measures that have happened there over the past few weeks,” he said on Wednesday.

“But also (because of) the tremendous work that’s been done by the public health officials in NSW.”

The move paves the way for states and territories to remove restriction imposed on the region.

NSW recorded just one case of community transmission on Wednesday, a child who was a household contact of a known case linked to the Berala cluster.

Seventy-thousand northern beaches residents emerged from a three-week lockdown on Sunday, with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian “confident” it was the right move due to a high testing rates.

But NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant warned on Wednesday that it could take up to a month to eradicate community transmission linked to the northern beaches and Berala clusters.

Ms Berejiklian has urged residents to remain vigilant despite a vaccine rollout beginning in February, warning the pandemic had no known end date.

“Once the vaccine begins to start rolling out, it does not mean we stop being COVID-safe,” she said on Wednesday.

“We have to stay COVID-safe for a while longer when the pandemic can be deemed to be over.”