Australia

NSW tightens Greater Sydney lockdown restrictions as state records 111 local COVID-19 cases and another death

New South Wales has recorded 111 new local coronavirus cases and another death, prompting the premier to announce tougher restrictions for Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour.

Of the new cases, 29 were infectious in the community.

59 cases are linked to a known contact and 47 are household contacts. Over 81,000 tests were processed yesterday.

The health department confirmed the death of a man in his late-80s in South-Eastern Sydney.

Seventy-five people have been hospitalised, with 18 in intensive care.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said existing measures had prevented thousands of cases but had failed to quash the curve of transmission, prompting further action.

“This Delta variant has been a challenge for every single nation on the planet, we are no different from that,” she told reporters.

“But we have an opportunity to quash this and have a good existence [and] normal life until we get a proportion of our population vaccinated.” 

From midnight Saturday until 30 July, residents of the Fairfield, Canterbury Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas will not be allowed to leave their LGA for work, unless they are healthcare workers or members of the emergency services.

Workers from those three LGAs who do need to leave the area for work will have to take a COVID-19 test every three days.

Fairfield-based essential workers who are asymptomatic are permitted to seek COVID-19 testing closer to their place of work, rather than wait in queues.

“It is so important for us not to have that concentration of cases spill out into the Greater Sydney community,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

Across Greater Sydney, non-essential retail premises will be required to close – though click and collect, takeaway and home delivery services can still operate.

Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, banks, hardware shops, pet shops, post offices, newsagents and office supply shops will remain open for face-to-face retail.

The premier said employers who force employees to return to offices could be hit with a $10,000 fine.

Residents in locked-down areas must carry a mask at all times outdoors. Masks must be worn while working outdoors, in outdoor markets and shopping strips, and when queuing outdoors.

Carpooling between non-household members has also been banned.

Construction work and non-urgent maintenance will also be paused from 19 July.

Tradesmen and cleaners will be prohibited from entering the home.

“We don’t underestimate the impact this has on our businesses…but what is really important for us is to give business every chance to bounce back,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said there had been some seeding virus in workplaces.

“What we’re trying to do is reduce people’s opportunities for interacting with others because once you get a workplace transmission, it is like a melting pot,” she told reporters.

A sign warning people to socially distance is seen on the foreshore in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on Friday, 16 July, 2021.

AAP

The premier expected the new restrictions would have a “great impact” in curbing transmission.  

“We might not see the impact of these additional restrictions for five to seven days at least, but we do know they will have an impact, and that is what we need.” 

New exposure sites were on Friday evening issued for several venues, most notably the Woolworths Lennox Shopping Centre in Emu Plains, Service NSW at Liverpool, Coles at Hurstville and a Lakemba butcher.

IKEA at Marsden Park was also listed as an exposure site.

“Just because there hasn’t been a case in your suburb or your local government area, don’t assume there is not,” Ms Berejiklian said. 

The NSW government said on Friday night anyone travelling to the state from Victoria will be required to follow stay-at-home rules.

Additional reporting: AAP



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