* NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has implored the state’s residents to avoid complacency over the Christmas period and limit movement as much as possible, with a COVID-19 cluster on Sydney’s Northern Beaches yet to be fully stamped out.
* NSW recorded nine new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday from a record of more than 60,000 tests.
* Seven of the cases are linked to the 104-strong cluster on the northern beaches, while the sources of the other two infections are under investigation.
* NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said health authorities are now concerned about the possible emergence of another outbreak in the Sydney CBD. Three cases have been connected to Paragon Hotel Sports Bar at Circular Quay.
* A man who visited Sydney’s Northern Beaches has tested positive for coronavirus in Queensland amid concerns coronavirus is active in the state. A 20-year-old female crew member on a super yacht off Cairns also tested positive and has been taken to the city’s hospital.
* Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young cast doubt on the NSW road border reopening on January 8, indicating it could be pushed back five days if authorities cannot find the source for the infection of a van driver in western Sydney.
* South Australia recorded two new coronavirus cases including a young man who returned a weak positive result after travelling into the state from NSW. The man in his 20s was aboard a flight from Darwin to Sydney on December 18 that contained an infected Qantas staff member.
* Two international airline crew members have tested positive for COVID-19 after touching down in Melbourne, as Victoria removed a ‘loophole’ that allowed them to skip hotel quarantine.
* Some of the 700 Victoria Police officers sent to guard the NSW border are facing accommodation and food challenges.
* Lieutenant-General John Frewen, head of the ADF’s COVID-19 taskforce, has defended the decision not to accept Victoria’s request for 200 to 300 troops at the NSW-Victoria border, saying it wasn’t a top priority.
* Victorians have been advised to forgo hugging and kissing family and friends this Christmas, despite the state clocking up its 55th straight day without a locally acquired coronavirus case on Thursday.
* Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday announced distribution contracts have been signed with DHL and Linfox to truck COVID-19 vaccine vials across Australia, including those living in very remote areas.
* The federal government has also tapped Accenture to gather the data to track vaccine doses and PwC to work with the health department to help monitor the program.
* Cricket Australia’s board still wants the third Test to be held in Sydney but is preparing a contingency plan for Melbourne to host another match against India.
* NBL clubs the Sydney Kings and Illawarra Hawks will be relocated to Albury from Boxing Day to prevent any exposure to Sydney’s coronavirus outbreak.
AUSTRALIAN CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
* There were 24 new cases recorded in Australia on Wednesday: 18 in NSW, two each in Queensland and SA and one apiece in WA and the NT. 11 are locally-transmitted cases and the 13 others were diagnosed in hotel quarantine.
* The national death toll is 908: Victoria 820, NSW 55, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3. (Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in the official tolls of both states.)
GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
* Cases: at least 78,704,000
* Deaths: at least 1,730,000
* Recovered: at least 44,324,000