Sydneysiders in dark over interstate travel as city records more cases
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Sydneysiders in dark over interstate travel as city records more cases

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Sydneysiders are no closer to knowing when they can travel interstate as border bickering between premiers worsens amid a handful of new coronavirus cases in the city's west and fresh venue alerts for the northern beaches.

Under a new "traffic light" system introduced by Victoria from 6pm on Monday, people in regional NSW and the Central Coast (an "orange zone") can now apply for a permit to travel south of the border provided they have a coronavirus test within 72 hours of arrival.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian responded to comments from Western Australia that she was not adequately suppressing virus spread.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian responded to comments from Western Australia that she was not adequately suppressing virus spread.

This includes Victorians stranded in regional NSW after the border was shut at midnight on New Year's Day.

But anyone who has been in Greater Sydney – a "red zone" defined as Sydney, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains – are not allowed to enter Victoria without an exemption. If they do enter the state unauthorised they will be fined $4957 and either returned on the next flight or, if they are a resident, required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

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A full-page ad in Tuesday's Herald, taken out by the Victorian government, reads: "You are in a COVID-19 red zone. No entry to Victoria without exemption."

There is no explanation for what the criteria is for a region to be classified green, orange or red.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews did not give a timeline or explanation for when Sydneysiders might qualify for permits but said the situation would be reviewed daily. "The stakes are very high here: we have built something that is precious and it needs to be safeguarded," he said.

Meanwhile, West Australian Premier Mark McGowan and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian exchanged barbs on Monday, as NSW continued to uncover small numbers of daily local cases while other states recorded consecutive days without community transmission.

Mr McGowan, who has a hard border in place for all of NSW, accused Ms Berejiklian of "ticking along with the virus" and "doing something different" to the rest of the country.

"The states and territories that want to eliminate the virus I think have the right approach," he said. "The idea you tick along with the virus and somehow that is a better model is wrong."

Ms Berejiklian said her state's approach to the pandemic was "completely consistent" with national cabinet. "The target is zero community transmission," she said.

"As long as there are flights returning citizens to Australia, elimination of COVID-19 is impossible.

"Every day we see cases emerge in hotel quarantine around the country, including in Western Australia."

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NSW reported three new local cases during the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, all in a family linked to the Berala cluster.

However, two mystery cases were identified after the reporting period: a western Sydney couple whose infections were discovered after one attended Mount Druitt Hospital emergency department with symptoms on the weekend.

In September, the national hot spot definition of a rolling three-day average of three cases a day was presented as a way for states to decide when to close borders. However, many have not used this definition, which itself has become murky in recent weeks.

Sydney's northern beaches area is still listed by the federal government as a coronavirus hot spot, despite not meeting the definition trigger point of a rolling three-day average of three cases a day in recent days. There have been only three cases linked to the cluster over the past week.

Similarly, Greater Brisbane was declared a hot spot due to special circumstances last week when a hotel quarantine cleaner tested positive to the highly transmissible B117 coronavirus strain.

A federal Department of Health spokesperson said reviews of listed hot spots were undertaken daily.

Mount Druitt Hospital emergency department briefly closed for deep cleaning before being reopened late on Monday morning. Contact tracing of people present when the man arrived at emergency is under way.

He has been transferred to Westmead Hospital's coronavirus unit and NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said it was possible he had been "unwell for some time".

Recent cases led to a number of new venue alerts in south-west Sydney, the inner west and the northern beaches.

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Anyone who spent more than an hour at Blacktown Workers Sports Club (Grange Buffet) in Arndell Park on January 3, between 11.40am and 1.30pm, must isolate for 14 days regardless of any negative test.

Those who attended Campsie Super Fresh greengrocer on Saturday, January 2 between 12.30pm and 1pm, Hurlstone Park Australia Post last Tuesday between 3.30pm and 4pm or Campsie Hills Seafood Shop on Friday between 12.35pm and 12.40pm should get tested immediately and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

People who shopped at Ashfield Coles, a convenience store at Hurlstone Park and a pizza shop at Lakemba last week have been urged to monitor for symptoms, alongside people who caught trains between Bankstown and Hurlstone Park on Wednesday and Friday.

Shoppers at Warriewood Square in the Northern Beaches must get tested immediately and isolate if they shopped at Coles on December 31 between 2pm and 2.10pm or January 5 between 12.45pm and 1pm; Woolworths on January 4 between 12.15pm and 12.45pm or January 5 between 12pm and 12.15pm; Aldi on January 5 between 12.10pm to 12.40pm or January 8 between 12pm and 12.25pm; and Rebel sports store on January 6 between 12.15pm and 12.30pm.

Attendees at Blacktown Workers Sports Club on January 3, in all parts of the club except Grange Buffet, between 11.40am and 1.30pm should watch for symptoms and get tested immediately if any develop.

The same instructions have been given for patrons of Michel's Patisserie at Ashfield Mall on January 6 between 4pm and 5pm; Brookvale Pool and Spa Warehouse on January 8 between 11.05am and 11.15am; and Warriewood Pharmacy Less on January 8 between 12.25pm and 12.35pm.

Brisbane's three-day lockdown was lifted on Monday night after the partner of a quarantine worker who tested positive to the B117 strain on Friday was the only subsequent case linked to her infection.

An order directing people in NSW who had been in Brisbane since January 2 to self-isolate for the duration of the lockdown has now expired.

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