Sydney residents told ‘limit your mobility’ over Christmas to fight virus spreading

(Reuters) -Sydney recorded nine new local COVID-19 cases on Thursday, up from eight the previous day as a lockdown and social restrictions seem to be containing a fresh outbreak, but officials urged residents to limit their Christmas movements.

More than a quarter of a million people in Sydney’s northern beach suburbs remain in some form of lockdown on Christmas Eve after a new coronavirus cluster emerged last week.

The cluster has now grown to more than 100.

“Please limit your mobility,” New South Wales (NSW) state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Thursday.

“Apart from those close family gatherings, which we have allowed over the Christmas break, we don’t want people moving around unless you absolutely have to.”

Authorities are concerned infections may spread city-wide and are daily issuing an ever growing list of potential transmission sites across the city and calling on people to be tested and isolate.

NSW Health said a record 60,000 coronavirus tests were carried out in the 24 hours to 8.00 p.m. (0900 GMT) Wednesday.

Sydney has been virtually cut off from the rest of Australia with all states and territories banning residents from entry or demanding a 14-day quarantine on arrival.