Four days of zero local COVID cases in NSW

NSW has recorded its fourth straight day of zero cases of local COVID-19 cases as thousands of businesses across the state are put on notice they have less than two weeks to electronically register their customers’ details.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello says pen and paper no longer cut it and QR codes will be mandatory from November 23, warning any business without the digital system will be fined.

“We can’t respond to a pandemic with paper. We must be fast and precise, and digital is the best way forward. There are no excuses,” he said on Wednesday.

The list of businesses requiring the system is vast, ranging from restaurants, to nail and beauty salons, tattoo parlours, pubs, clubs, funeral homes, party buses, brothels, corporate events, weddings and receptions.

“We have to move away from the walk-in culture to the check-in culture,” he said.

Meanwhile, NSW Health said four COVID-19 cases were diagnosed in returned travellers in hotel quarantine, in the 20,586 tests undertaken in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night – twice the number of tests done the previous day.

NSW Health continued to urge anyone with symptoms – especially people in the Southern Highlands, southwestern Sydney and the Rouse Hill area – to get tested.

There have been recent cases in Moss Vale and southwestern Sydney, as well as virus fragments detected in sewage sampled from Rouse Hill and Liverpool last week.

And as NSW prepared to take on Queensland in the second State of Origin rugby league match, Premier Gladys Berejiklian was in no mood for the traditional interstate friendly rivalry about the event.

She says she won’t be texting Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about it and remains frustrated by her refusal to open the border to Sydneysiders, arguing that both states’ economies were suffering.

“I think I’ve made my case clear. And she’s made her position clear. And I don’t think that she’s going to budge,” she told ABC TV.

“It’s a lot at stake. I think that the goalposts that Queensland has set for opening the borders to NSW is unrealistic, and I just wish that they would act in a more compassionate and common-sense way.”

There was “absolutely no health advice which says that NSW poses a danger to anybody”.

“Quite the contrary. We have tested our system. Queensland hasn’t. WA hasn’t,” she said.

She noted that from November 23, every Australian citizen will be welcome in NSW without quarantine, and the state is also welcoming New Zealanders.

“We’re really encouraged by the progress we’re making. But let’s not be in a situation where people lose jobs, are frustrated and separated from their families over Christmas unnecessarily. It’s just ridiculous,” she said.

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