The nation's attention is fixed firmly on Sydney as a COVID-19 cluster on the city's northern beaches brings on a series of rapid changes to state border restrictions. Once again, Australians are experiencing a kind of national whiplash as COVID-19 disrupts plans in the lead-up to Christmas.
At a time of year many were hoping dearly to spend with friends and family, new but necessary restrictions are disrupting travel plans and sending households in Sydney's north into isolation. It's yet another round of disorienting change to end a year marked by head-spinning turns of events.
As the COVID-19 cluster on Sydney's northern beaches grew by another 30, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced restrictions aiming to halt any further re-emergence of the virus in the community.
One of the few points of consolation at this stage is that there is no evidence yet of the coronavirus spreading beyond the peninsula to other parts of NSW. However, NSW officials said there were individuals who tested positive for COVID-19 who had travelled outside the northern beaches.
Tasmania was quick to increase the level of risk for the cluster that is emerging. But, like the nine months that precedes the current outbreak, the trust that people will do the right thing and self-isolate is the second-best weapon we have against avoiding community transmission in Tasmania.
The best weapon in our arsenal against this indiscriminate virus is to close all borders. This decision wouldn't be taken lightly after the state moved into a risk minimisation approach following Victoria's successful emergence from lockdown. And, we've all witnessed families reuniting at the airport since those borders did lift, so with Christmas only around the corner any border closures would be intensely scrutinised.
As with the situation in Victoria, our thoughts will be with Greater Sydney as they enter into a high-risk battle, which will include isolation for many on Christmas, a day for connection.
Hopefully the swift action of the government will ensure lockdown will be over quick and as a nation we can move into 2021 with the worst behind us.
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