Local lockdown after 22 new NSW cases

NSW will enforce a lockdown for four inner and eastern Sydney council areas as the state records 22 new local cases of COVID-19.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued the stay-at-home orders on Friday morning after a crisis meeting to review the growing number of locally-acquired cases across the state. The lockdown will come into force from midnight.

Eleven cases were detected in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday night, six of which were already reported. There were 17 further infections after 8pm which will be recorded in Saturday’s tally. 

People who live or work in Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and the City of Sydney council areas will not be able to leave home for a week except for essential purposes. 

These include work or education, shopping, providing care or outside exercise.

“If you live or work in those local government areas, you need to stay at home unless absolutely necessary,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters. 

There are now 65 cases linked to the Bondi cluster that erupted in the city’s east last week.

The government had previously held off declaring a lockdown, instead preferring to restrict the movements of residents, increase mask wearing and limit social and other gatherings.

The “four square metre” rule is also back in place.

Ms Berejiklian announced these restrictions – still in place for other areas of Greater Sydney as well as Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour – would be extended until midnight on Friday next week.

Those who live or work in the Inner West, Canada Bay or Bayside council areas, meanwhile, are still barred from leaving metropolitan Sydney.

When asked why she had avoided using the word “lockdown” in her update, the premier said: “You can use whatever word you want.”

NSW Health has added several exposure sites including two cafes in Potts Point, two cafes in Alexandria and a health club in Bondi Junction to its list of venues of concern on Thursday evening and Friday morning.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said she was concerned about clients of Joh Bailey hairdressers in Double Bay as there were at least three staff members who worked while infectious and two confirmed cases among clients so far.

She expects more cases linked to the salon among its 900 recent clients in the coming days.

“The key issue is because of the growing number of venues, the fact that we’ve had confirmed transmission at a number of the venues, we need to reduce people’s movements,” Dr Chant said. 

Dr Chant said as of 8pm on Thursday, 17 people who earlier this week attended a “super-spreader” birthday party in Hoxton Park had tested positive for the virus. 

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said police had already handed out infringement notices for breaches to the new rules including some on public transport.

Meanwhile, Deputy Premier John Barilaro has tested negative to COVID-19 after a virus scare in the state’s parliament.

However, the NSW Nationals leader must follow health advice and remain in isolation in Sydney until July 6 and be tested at least two more times.

The NSW parliament was on Thursday declared a potential exposure venue during one of the busiest weeks of the year – budget week – after Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall tested positive.

Many state MPs were deemed close contacts and hundreds of people working in the building on Sydney’s Macquarie Street this week were at risk of exposure.

Ms Berejiklian was tested and cleared on Thursday morning, as was Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

Parliament House workers were told to stay home on Thursday while a group of MPs underwent rapid testing so they could enter parliament and pass the 2021/22 budget.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.