Sydney’s Northern Beaches area has been declared a COVID-19 hotspot by NT health authorities, meaning all travelers to the NT from the area will face mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The declaration comes as medical professionals have called on the NT Government to extend the hotspot status to all of Sydney.
Territorians planning to spend their Christmas holidaying in Sydney’s Northern Beaches are advised to holdoff their plans and anyone travelling to the NT from that area will need to go into supervised quarantine and all travelers who entered the NT for the last seven days from the area are being asked to get tested and self-isolate.
The NT’s hotspot declaration for the Northern Beaches area came into effect at 12:01am Friday.
NT Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie said that he will be monitoring and reviewing the Northern Beaches outbreak and will respond accordingly to the developments as they happen.
“I have declared Northern Beaches Council LGA in NSW a hotspot. This declaration has been made rapidly to protect the health of all Territorians,” Dr Heggie said.
“Anyone who has entered the Northern Territory from the affected Northern Beaches area in the past seven days is also required to be tested for COVID-19 and self-isolate while waiting for the results.
“The outbreak in Northern Beaches Council LGA has grown quickly and the decisions made in the coming days to contain it will be critical.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged people in northern beaches to stay away from high-risk places “so we can get on top of this.” They have been advised to work from home, keep to their household group and avoid all unnecessary gatherings.
Premier Berejiklian also told Sydneysiders to brace themselves as authorities expected a “considerable amount” of COVID-19 cases today on top of the 28 cases linked to the Northern Beaches cluster.
Victoria will introduce a permit system for all New South Wales travellers from midnight, while Queensland has imposed mandatory quarantine for anyone from the Northern Beaches area.
Dr. Robert Parker, President of the Australian Medical Association of the Northern Territory meanwhile said he recommends putting Sydney to the COVID-19 hotspot for the next two weeks.
“Well, in memory of the Chief Minister [Michael Gunner] calling me an “armchair commentator please shut up’ … I would just recommend Sydney be basically a COVID-19 hotspot for the next two weeks,” he told ABC Radio.
“I think we just need to see what’s happening, what’s tracking with this bug, and potentially that further hotspots do not develop, I think, again, you know, given the speed of it and the way it can suddenly emerge.
“We’ve always been very careful in saying that you know we’re aware of the economic stuff and we’re aware the family stuff. But this is just another example of how dangerous this bug is. And I think the Health of the Territorians is the prime concern.”