Live news from Australia coronavirus: thousands in NSW to self-isolate after exposure to Covid-19

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More than 2,000 customers at a bottle store in western Sydney are at risk after an employee worked while infected; masks become mandatory in Sydney; and Victorian authorities step up testing. Follow the most recent updates

I reported that at some drive-through testing sites in Victoria, queues were already forming.

This was prior to 7 am at the Melbourne Leisure and Aquatic Centre in Albert Park.

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Not even 7am, here’s the line at MSAC to get the COVID exam. Pic.twitter.com/BPlIeeyrwAA @TheTodayShow @9NewsMelb

3rd January 2021

In recent days, this testing site has been blamed for turning individuals away fairly early.

I believe that this is partly a space problem. The parking lot at MSAC where testing takes place is not particularly large, it does not have the capacity, say, of the Chadstone test site.

Nine Television photographers were at the site this morning and talked to people in the queues.

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@9NewsAUS] Anyway,
Huge queues outside the Victorian test sites are forming. Pic.twitter.com/UwI51m9usl @IzaStaskowski #9News

3rd January 2021

NSW Police have reported that a wedding venue in Fairfield was fined yesterday for allowing 600-800 guests to a wedding reception.

Police said the venue would face a $5,000 fine for the breach, under the “one person per 4 square meters” law, with existing rules allowing only 100 guests at a wedding.

This morning, NSW Police Minister David Elliott told radio station 2GB that he was “furious” about the venue for the breach.

The operator has been fined 5,000 dollars and I’m angry.

I was told the Fairfield Local Commander visited a wedding venue (with) 700 individuals and was fined $5,000.

This infuriated me; I can assure you that this is not how I wanted to spend my Monday morning.

Long lines have already formed outside the Covid 19 testing sites in Victoria, which opened at 8am.

In Melbourne, Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal, president of the Australian Medical Association’s Victorian branch, operates a respiratory clinic that performs Covid-19 tests by appointment.

He told Radio National that they are now at capacity to try to clear the backlog and have held twilight clinics. He said that while state opposition criticism that the Victorian government should have expected this wave of demand was a bit harsh, there were steps that should have been placed in place by the Victorian government at the height of the second wave, but were not yet enforced.

In essence, this means government grants to private GPs and respiratory clinics to allow them to recruit more workers.

If we had been informed that this need existed, we would definitely have hired more workers, but it would have been very expensive to hire employees on a holiday and the help given so far by the state government would have been very useful.

But we have hired the extra employees ourselves in this way, and when we look at our accounts at the end of the month, we will pay for it.

Haikerwal said that while the test clinics could not know exactly when the rush would come because they didn’t know when the borders would be closed, they knew that because there was more movement and crowding, there would be a rush during the holiday season.

What would have been helpful is to learn the lessons we have already learned, work with the suppliers who are already doing the job out there, and gain some extra support…

We were all jam-packed with the end of December in mind. We felt we were going to have a break for a little while.

And we had border closures again two days later.

About the closure of the border, he said:

I think the decision that we had to keep the borders closed was rightly made. There are a large number of Victorians who need to come back home, and I think they should be allowed to do that, but it should be done in a way where we know when they do, they do that 14-day quarantine at home, and because the systems are so much better now, we can track that…. We just need to be a little more humane and let our people go home.

And basically, he said:

For heaven’s sake, wear a mask, that’s the thing that saved us.

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