Health workers perform Covid-19 tests at a Bondi Beach drive-through testing centre in Sydney, Australia on December 20.
Health workers perform Covid-19 tests at a Bondi Beach drive-through testing centre in Sydney, Australia on December 20. Steven Saphore/AFP/Getty Images

A Covid-19 testing blitz which saw thousands tested in Sydney found just 15 new local cases on Sunday, Australian health authorities announced Monday.

The 15 new cases are all traceable to the Avalon Cluster in Sydney’s Northern Beaches municipality, NSW Health announced. That cluster now totals 83 cases.

NSW Health recorded 38,578 tests on Sunday, a record daily total.

New South Wales recorded 23 new cases in total on Sunday, including eight imported cases.

Speaking Monday Australia’s federal health minister Greg Hunt said that testing in the Northern Beaches area was up 700% and commended citizens for complying with testing and quarantining guidelines. 

Where the cluster came from: State health minister Brad Hazzard on Monday said that ‘patient zero’ for the Avalon Cluster is likely to have been a passenger who flew to Sydney from Los Angeles on December 1. 

Health authorities in New South Wales and Australia have acted quickly to get on top of the new cluster, which ended a run of days without community transmission in Sydney.

What’s been done: The Northern Beaches municipality, with a population of just over 250,000, has been locked down until Wednesday night in an attempt to stop the spread. 

Meanwhile contact tracers have identified scores of venues around the city connected to positive cases, with all other patrons told to get tested and quarantine until receiving a negative result.

Leaders across Australia have acted swiftly to keep the virus from spreading out of New South Wales, with all other states and territories now requiring Sydney residents to quarantine for 14-days on arrival.