‘Incredible concern’ over NSW case numbers
Disease experts calling for tougher, Melbourne-style lockdown in NSW
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said the state will act “within hours” if tougher restrictions are needed after the state confirmed 97 new Covid-19 cases yesterday.
NSW officials have expressed “incredible concern” over the 29 new people who were infectious in the community, with Berejiklian saying she won’t hesitate to act if tighter lockdown rules are recommended.
Any new restrictions would need to be “targeted” to ensure an impact on the Covid case numbers.
Yesterday’s 97 new locally acquired cases brings the total number of active cases in NSW to 1026.
“That number of people being infectious in the community keeps going up,” Berejiklian said.
“We really want to stress to everybody, please stay at home, follow the orders.
“Don’t move around, don’t go shopping, don’t do anything unless you really have to.
“This weekend it will be fine weather so please stay safe when you are exercising.”
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has joined calls for the NSW Government to “take further steps” to bring Sydney’s current outbreak under control.
President Dr Omar Khorshid said in a statement that Berejiklian should close “all non-essential retail outlets, non-essential services” and review limits on how far people can travel from their homes.
“The latest Covid-19 infection numbers in Greater Sydney show while the virus is not escalating out of control, current restrictions are not strong enough to bring overall infection numbers down any time soon,” Dr Khorshid warned.
“Rising unlinked cases and people infectious in the community show we are not ahead of this outbreak.
“This means there is no end to the lockdown in sight and more needs to be done.
“Allowing non-essential retail stores to remain open not only sends the wrong message to the public, but it also increases the risk of transmission.
“This is despite the reality that people can access many of the products online. Telling the community not to browse the shops is not enough.
“A range of non-essential workplaces also remain open, which we know from the Victorian experience last year needed to be closed or operated under strict limits in order for its outbreak to be brought under control,” Khorshid said.
“There is confusion about what is considered essential and nonessential, and the AMA believes it is time for NSW to follow the Victorian approach, which gives a clear definition for the public and the business community.
“While we appreciate just how hard things are for people living in Greater Sydney, more delay will simply make things much worse and impose a much bigger toll on the community – with the announcement of additional support for workers and businesses, there is no excuse for further hesitation or delay.”
There are now 75 NSW Covid-19 patients in hospital. Eighteen of them are in intensive care and five require ventilation.
The state government’s reported meeting over lockdown restrictions follows growing calls from infectious disease experts to introduce a lockdown similar to the one in Melbourne last year.
Modelling from the Burnet Institute has predicted Greater Sydney would still be seeing more than 40 cases a day until September if the current restrictions are kept in place.
The modelling shows introducing stricter Stage 4 restrictions, such as a 5 kilometre travel limit and defining what constitutes essential work, is the fastest way to get the outbreak under control.
The NSW government has previously floated the idea of introducing tougher restrictions for high-risk parts of Sydney, such as the southwest, where the majority of cases are being transmitted.
Victoria recorded six new local Covid-19 cases overnight as the state entered its fifth lockdown.
All are linked to known cases, and the new infections bring the state’s current outbreak to 24.
Western Australia is slamming its border shut to Victoria again after an outbreak of Covid-19 in the eastern state.
Victoria’s coronavirus numbers have climbed to 24, prompting the West Australian government to reclassify the state as “medium risk” and reintroduce the hard border from 12.01am today.
Travel from Victoria will no longer be permitted unless you are an exempt traveller.
The restriction also applies to anyone who may have been in Victoria since July 8 and has not completed 14 days of quarantine in a lower risk jurisdiction.