NSW expected to report single-digit COVID-19 cases and break testing record again

NSW is again expected to announce single-digit COVID-19 case numbers today, with a new record number of tests carried out on Thursday, a source familiar with the figures said.

Test numbers for Thursday are expected to surpass the record 60,184 tests that were reported to 8pm on Wednesday.

NSW citizens have come forward for testing in droves.Credit:Ben Rushton

On Thursday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian thanked those who got tested for coming forward but said the state was "far from out of the woods".

"In fact, we have to be extra vigilant over the next few days," she said.

The Premier and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant will address the media at 11am.

NSW Health is investigating a new potential cluster associated with a Sydney CBD bar after at least two patrons from the Paragon Hotel Sports Bar near Circular Quay tested positive for coronavirus.

For Sydneysiders planning family gatherings across the city on Christmas Day, there are essentially three zones with different rules:

  • Most of Sydney: you're allowed 10 adults visiting your home (children don't count towards the limit) on top of the existing household members. For example, if you have a family of five, you can have 10 other adults and unlimited number of children join you for Christmas festivities.
  • Northern part of the northern beaches: you're in lockdown, unfortunately. Residents can't leave the region and can leave home for limited reasons including to buy essentials, exercise, work or to seek medical care. However until tomorrow, an exemption allows people to visit other homes within the region, with five visitors allowed in total, including children. The same restrictions apply for outdoor gatherings.
  • Southern part of the northern beaches: a combination of the above. Residents have the same lockdown conditions, except they can accept 10 visitors (excluding children) and people from Greater Sydney can visit. (It is unclear why children are exempt from the count in the southern part, but are included in the northern part.)

Meanwhile, on Thursday afternoon the Northern Territory became the first jurisdiction to lift border restrictions on Sydneysiders.

The Territory now only considers the northern beaches a hotspot, meaning everyone else can now visit and those held in quarantine are being released.

Victoria, which recorded its 56th consecutive day without community transmission, will consider lifting border restrictions next week.

Queensland won't lift its restrictions until at least January 8 after an unlinked case from Western Sydney on December 22.

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