11.49pm GMT

Alert for Anytime Fitness Avalon customers

Hundreds of gym goers on Sydney’s northern beaches have been asked to get tested and isolate immediately, as NSW Health races to contain a cluster numbering 28 cases, AAP reports.

Authorities issued a public health alert on Saturday morning, calling several hundred people who attended an Avalon gym to take urgent action.

A known case attended Anytime Fitness on Avalon Parade on 6, 7, 8, 11 and 12 December while infectious.

Investigations are underway and authorities are in the process of tracking down close contacts but are asking anyone who attended the gym on those days to get tested immediately and isolate until further advice.

11.30pm GMT

NSW Health has put out testing clinic information while we wait for the case numbers press conference (half an hour to go).

NSW Health


NSW Health continues to increase COVID-19 testing options for the Northern Beaches community. pic.twitter.com/ov93zu23Es

December 18, 2020

11.27pm GMT

Reuters reports the British government is making a concerted effort to persuade the Trump administration to lift or soften travel restrictions that bar most people in the United Kingdom from travelling to the United States, sources briefed on the matter said.

In an email to Reuters, a spokeswoman for the UK Department for Transport said “restarting transatlantic flights is of critical importance to the economic recovery of the UK and the US, the airline industry and for British nationals, most of whom cannot enter the US. British officials continue to pursue the resolution to this issue.”

The proposal to lift the travel restrictions won the backing of White House coronavirus task-force members, public health and other federal agencies, Reuters reported in November.

One hurdle to lifting the restrictions is the high number of coronavirus infections in Europe. The United States last week extended travel restrictions on Mexico and Canadian land border crossings through at least 21 January.

The US restrictions barring most visitors from Europe have been in place since mid-March to address the coronavirus pandemic, barring entry of most non-US residents who have been in those countries in the previous 14 days.

Nearly all of Europe still bans most US travellers from visiting, while Britain allows American visits but requires two-weeks quarantine upon arrival.

at 11.31pm GMT

11.10pm GMT

One in every five state and federal prisoners in the United States has tested positive for the coronavirus, a rate more than four times as high as the general population.

In some states, more than half of prisoners have been infected, according to data collected by The Associated Press and The Marshall Project.

The head of the Food and Drug Administration said late Thursday that his agency will move to quickly authorise the second Covid-19 vaccine to fight the pandemic.

The comments came hours after the shot won the key endorsement of a government advisory panel.

US health officials are seeing an astonishing lack of demand for Covid-19 medicines that may help keep infected people out of the hospital, drugs they rushed out to states over the past few weeks as deaths set new records.

10.44pm GMT

The Saturday Telegraph is reporting the new number of cases in NSW is a “worrying” rise, but are all connected to the northern beaches outbreak. So read into that what you will.

We will know more in a little over an hour.

at 10.47pm GMT

10.42pm GMT

Here’s the run down on the travel restrictions currently in place for New South Wales, via AAP:

Western Australia – Anyone who enters WA from NSW must self-isolate for 14 days. Those already in WA must self-quarantine for 14 days, starting from the date they were last on the northern beaches.
South Australia – Anyone in SA who has recently arrived from NSW should follow NSW Health advice by self-isolating for 14 days and getting tested if they have visited any of the venues on NSW’s health alert list.
Northern Territory – Anyone who enters NT from Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council area will need to undergo 14 days of supervised quarantine.
Queensland – Anyone who enters Queensland and has been on Sydney’s northern beaches since 11 December must get tested and self-isolate for 14 days since their last visit to the region. From Saturday, all people who have been on the northern beaches and want to enter Queensland will be forced into hotel quarantine.
ACT – Anyone who enters the ACT and has been on Sydney’s northern beaches since 11 December must get tested and self-isolate.
Victoria – Anyone who enters Victoria from Sydney’s northern beaches must get tested and go into mandatory hotel quarantine for 14 days. People from greater Sydney are encouraged to get tested and isolate until results come back.
Tasmania – Anyone who has visited the Northern Beaches Council area since 11 December, as well as the Kirribilli Club, Penrith RSL and Gannons Park in Peakhurst at various times between December 11 and December 14, is barred from entering Tasmania.

at 10.56pm GMT

10.35pm GMT

Just a reminder we are expecting the update on the latest case numbers for New South Wales at 11am.

We can expect the other states to respond after that, depending on what happens.

at 10.37pm GMT

10.15pm GMT

Welcome to the Guardian’s global coronavirus live blog. I am Josh Taylor, and I will be bringing you the latest as it comes through.

Here’s where we stand as of Saturday morning, Australian time:

The UK government said a further 489 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Friday, bringing the total to 66,541. Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 82,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.
US vice-president Mike Pence was given Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, the highest-ranking US official to have received it so far. Pence was given the first shot on live television and said the vaccine was a “medical miracle” and that he “didn’t feel a thing”.
The Christmas plans of many Australians could be thrown into chaos today with an outbreak in the northern beaches of Sydney reaching 28 and threatening to bring in restrictions on people travelling from Sydney to other states.
Italy has announced new lockdowns over Christmas. Bars, restaurants and non-essential shops are to close nationwide from December 24th-27th and December 31st-January 3rd, the country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has announced.
Austria will go into lockdown for a third time after Christmas, the government confirmed, just 11 days after the country’s second lockdown ended. Non-essential shops that reopened last week will close, reopening the week of 18 January along with restaurants, schools, museums and theatres, the government said in a statement. Austria will let ski lifts open despite the lockdown being introduced on 26 December.
France’s coronavirus death toll has surpassed 60,000. The health ministry reported 610 new deaths, pushing the total to 60,229, Reuters reports. There were 264 new deaths in hospitals, compared to 258 on Thursday, and a three-day batch of 346 deaths reported in retirement homes.
Turkey’s daily coronavirus death toll hit a record high of 246 in the last 24 hours, health ministry data showed, bringing the total number of deaths to 17,610. Turkey also recorded 26,410 new coronavirus cases, including asymptomatic ones, in the last 24 hours.
Sweden’s government on Friday introduced the toughest measures yet to help stave off a second wave of the pandemic, including recommending masks on public transport and closing non-essential public workplaces, Reuters reports. Sweden registered a record 9,654 new coronavirus cases on Friday. The increase compared with a previous high of 8,881 daily cases recorded on Thursday.Sweden registered 100 new deaths, taking the total to 7,993.

at 10.30pm GMT

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