Australia is anxiously awaiting a press conference from the NSW Premier at 1pm (NZ time), as the northern beaches cluster is tipped to continue to grow.
"We can expect to see a repeat of those numbers during the next 24 hours," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said yesterday, as the state reported 23 new cases. The number of cases associated with the northern beaches cluster now stands at 38, after 21 new cases were linked to the outbreak yesterday.
Today the Premier will be joined by NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys, who will be speaking the day after the northern beaches was placed into lockdown in response to the outbreak.
The outbreak raises questions about the proposed trans-Tasman travel bubble.
The New Zealand government says it is closely monitoring the new Covid-19 cluster in Sydney but it is too early to say if it will affect a trans-Tasman bubble.
"As previously stated, a travel bubble won't start until the first quarter of 2021," a government spokesperson said in a statement.
"Commencement is dependent on no significant change in the circumstances of either country.
"Decisions on whether or not to proceed with a travel bubble will occur in the new year and we will assess the situation at that point.
"We're monitoring the situation closely, but it's too early to make any decisions based on the current community cases in New South Wales."
Sydney's northern beaches lockdown comes as Western Australia announced it was reinstating its hard border with NSW from midnight last night.
Premier Mark McGowan said the hard border, which means all NSW residents will need to apply for an exemption to access the state, was necessary to keep his state safe.
The decision was made following an emergency meeting of the nation's chief health officers.
"This is the reality of living in a world with Covid," McGowan said.
"Given the size of the Sydney outbreak…NSW will move to be classified as a medium-risk state."
McGowan said it was a "difficult decision" to make.
It follows restrictions implemented by Tasmania, which upgraded the level of risk of travellers from NSW to Tasmania to 'medium', meaning they will have to quarantine for 14 days
"It is unfortunate, but I make no apology," Premier Peter Gutwein said in a press conference.
The northern beaches area is already declared high-risk – and travellers from there are not permitted to enter unless approved as an essential traveller, or if they're a returning Tasmanian resident.
People can quarantine either at home or in a government hotel facility at their own expense.
"As I've said, we will act early, we will act swiftly," Gutwein later added of the response to NSW's growing cluster.
People from NSW wanting to enter Queensland will need a to appy for a border pass online, with those travelling from the northern beaches needing to apply for an exemption.
Meanwhile, a leading epidemiologist has said allowing international air crew to quarantine at home is "not worth the risk".
Professor Michael Toole from the Burnet Institute told the ABC that the risk taken of letting international strains of the virus into the community was too high.
"In seven states and territories, we have basically eliminated local transmission of the virus," Prof Toole said. "So I think every precaution that can be taken to keep it that way and eventually to eliminate the virus in NSW are justified.
"You know, we – we have sacrificed a lot in all eight states and territories to get to this place and I think it's just not worth the risk.
"I understand how that might be, you know, inconvenient for those crew, but they are also coming from countries where the virus rate is high."
He also said it's "likely that the mutant strain will emerge".
"From the virus's point of view, this is not surprising. I mean, it's in the interest of the virus to infect as many people as possible.
"So it basically mutates to allow that and this has happened before."
"It's not in the interest of the virus to cause more severe illness because then people die and … the virus can't go anywhere."