New South Wales has announced tighter COVID-19 restrictions as cases surge and a new cluster has emerged.
The Australian state's Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced 18 new locally acquired cases were recorded in the 24 hours until 8pm on Tuesday night, along with seven new cases at the border.
Of the community cases, nine are linked to the Northern Beaches Avalon Cluster and three are under investigation.
The other six are linked to a new cluster: the Croydon Cluster in Sydney's inner west, where the source is still under investigation. All six are members of the same extended family.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said more cases are expected to emerge given the family attended social gatherings over Christmas, the Guardian reported.
"I'm expecting that there will be because of the nature of the contact and the fact that we have identified that there were infectious people at a number of these events and some events went for, you know, over an hour at these family gatherings and the household nature of it, so I'm just expecting that we will see cases," she said.
"We are concerned that this Croydon Cluster at this moment we have not found a link to the Northern Beaches despite, you know, 24 hours of really intensive investigations. It's not to say we won't, but at this stage, that is concerning."
The latest surge in cases in New South Wales has prompted further restrictions in the lead up to the New Year, the Guardian reported.
Households will now be limited to five visitors on New Year's Eve and outdoor gatherings across greater Sydney are limited from 50 down to 30.
"We don't want New Year's Eve to be the cause of a super-spreader," Berejiklian said.
"The strongest message to everybody across New South Wales no matter where you are is please limit your activity and your mobility."
Visitors have also been banned from all aged care facilities in the area until at least January 6.