Suppression rather than elimination is the best way for NSW to battle the coronavirus, Premier Gladys Berejiklian has told an economic conference.
During the keynote speech at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian said suppression was the “only option” given the state’s large and diverse population.
A large proportion of returning international travellers are also arriving in Sydney, where they are obliged to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine.
“We know that the disease is insidious and virulent and sometimes it can be bubbling away without detection,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“As much as we’d all love to see (coronavirus) eliminated, it’s an unrealistic strategy and it does hurt our aspiration to at least have continuity.
“But (suppression) is not going to be delivered perfectly either because it relies on goodwill and it relies on everybody doing the right thing. The next round of success or failure is dependent on our personal action.”
The speech was Ms Berejiklian’s first since the start of the pandemic.
Her remarks followed those of Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton earlier in the week, saying a coronavirus elimination strategy could be considered if the southern state lowered its case numbers.
“If we can head towards very low numbers, then elimination becomes something for consideration,” Professor Sutton told reporters on Tuesday.
NSW reported 13 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, with only three of them unconnected to a cluster from a southwest Sydney pub.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant says there are now 34 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, at least 20 of them patrons.
Ms Berejiklian on Tuesday announced a tightening of restrictions for pubs and hotels, including a cap of 300 patrons and mandatory sign-ins. Those restrictions will come into effect on Friday.