A leading infectious disease expert has warned COVID-19 cases could surge to over 3,000 by early January if Sydney isn’t placed into lockdown immediately.

Just when we thought we were returning back to a ‘new normal’, there has been a surge in COVID-19 cases in New South Wales.

Now, a leading infectious disease expert has warned there could be 3000 new coronavirus cases in NSW by early January unless a short lockdown is introduced in Greater Sydney.

In an interview with news.com.au, infectious diseases expert Professor Raina MacIntyre of the University of NSW warned that Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve are super spreading events that could see coronavirus blow out of proportion.

“This is why this outbreak is different because we’ve got two superspreading events ahead of us and people will be maximally infectious on NYE — that’s why it’s such a dangerous situation,” Prof MacIntyre told news.com.au.

“We could be looking at potentially 3000 cases by the second week of January.”

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On Sunday, NSW recorded 30 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the cluster total to 68 cases. Prof MacIntrye said cases could grow to 120 by Christmas Day and these people will go on to infect a further 300 to 400 people at family gatherings. By New Year’s celebration, a further 1000 people will be infected.

The only solution to avoiding this situation is to enter lockdown now, Prof MacIntrye warned.

“I think the problem is there is very little time left, these two events (Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve) are going to happen, they are fixed dates,” she said.

She believes if health authorities continue to wait and see what will happen, it will only become harder to control the spread.

“If we see 100 cases on Thursday we are going to have to cancel Christmas,” Prof MacIntrye added.

“We may also be forced to abandon all plans for New Year’s Eve if we take a softly, softly approach.

“Last year on New Year’s Eve we were watching the bushfires unfold and we really don’t want another disaster.”

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