Australia news live: Sydney on Boxing Day alert after premier's Covid warning – latest updates


Good morning, and welcome to the Australia news live blog for Boxing day – I hope you’ve had a restful festive break so far. My name is Elle Hunt and I’ll be seeing you through the day’s developments.

  • In New South Wales, the northern beaches cluster has grown to 108 (out of 118 total for the state) after seven new locally acquired cases yesterday. The premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged shoppers not to enter the Sydney central business district for Boxing Day sales today, lest the virus be spread across the city. The Australian Retailers Association labelled the plea “incredibly disappointing”.
  • Riot police were called to break up a gathering of hundreds of people on Bronte beach on Christmas Day afternoon. A witness told that some 300 people were partying in close proximity. NSW health minister Brad Hazzard said it was “beyond belief” that people would so wilfully jeopardise public health: “I get the desire for youthful Christmas exuberance, but this is as irresponsible, ignorant and idiotic as it gets,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
  • Australian golfer Greg Norman says he has been hospitalised with Covid-19, posting photos on Instagram: “My Christmas Day. On behalf of millions, fuck Covid. Get this shit behind us never to experience it again.”
  • A second person who was on board a luxury superyacht that sailed from the Maldives to Cairns tested positive for coronavirus yesterday.
  • An Australian government-facilitated repatriation flight, scheduled to bring Australians home from New Delhi, was cancelled due to “unforeseen logistical difficulties”. About 39,000 Australians spent Christmas stranded overseas.
  • And an exclusive just in from the Guardian’s health policy editor Denis Campbell in London – British scientists are trialling a new drug that that could prevent someone who has been exposed to coronavirus from developing the disease Covid-19, which experts say could save many lives.



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