People rush to leave NSW as closures loom

People are rushing to get out of NSW over fears tougher border restrictions could be imposed on the state ahead of Christmas.

Long queues have already formed at Sydney Airport, with hundreds making the decision to move their trips forward as new restrictions looking increasingly likely.

Multiple states and territories have already reimposed border restrictions for the northern beaches, with some even requiring all NSW residents to go into mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

Pictures from Nine’s Today showcrowds of people packing the airport as people desperately try to leave the state.

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Sydney Airport is packed as people rush to leave the state. Picture: Today/NineSource:Channel 9

More than 250,000 residents in the area have been told to stay home for the next three days, with questions arising over whether the northern beaches will be put into an Adelaide-style “circuit breaker” lockdown.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said he’d “absolutely” be okay with the area being put into lockdown to stop cases spreading.

“We’re blessed with where we are. We work hard to live here and we have 20-plus beaches, I think a lockdown over summer is not necessarily a bad thing,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

“It is not great. It ruins people’s plans for Christmas and travel and catching up with family.

“I’m as affected as anybody else, but it helps keep everything in check and the state in check and the nation in check as well, if it is the right thing to do, then we should do it and we will be guided by what NSW Health says, but I don’t think we should ignore that request if it comes our way.”

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said contact tracers were racing against the clock to get a handle on the cluster in time for Christmas.

Northern beaches residents line up at Mona Vale hospital for a COVID-19 test. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Jeremy PiperSource:News Corp Australia

She said the next 24 to 48 hours would be “critical” in containing the spread.

“You can get a whole outbreak without too much warning and that’s exactly what’s happened. All of us have to adjust. Pull together as we have previously. Get on top of it,” Ms Berejiklian told Today.

“At least in the next few days, if we see that we are on top of it, there is no reason why people can’t look forward to a Christmas they were hoping to have. But the next 24, 48 hours are absolutely critical.

“That is why we are working night and day to get on top of it. But we need the public’s help. The public has been fantastic up to this point.

“We just need your help. If you live on the northern beaches, please follow the health advice.

“If you live in Greater Sydney, please take extra precautions. If all of us pull together and do the right thing, we have a greater chance of having a good Christmas and all of us, I think, deserve to be with our loved ones an have a break. But that will rely on how we pull together over the next few days.”

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