Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that lockdown measures across Greater Sydney will remain in place for a further week as health authorities try to keep up with new cases.
27 new cases were announced during the 12 hours to 8pm last night. Only 13 of those were in isolation during the infectious period, seven were partially isolated, and seven were infectious in the community. There were 45,000 tests conducted over the 24 hour period.
NSW recorded 27 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. pic.twitter.com/pUprrXHpRE
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) July 7, 2021
The reason for lockdown measures being extended, Berejiklian said, is because the Delta strain “is a game changer”.
“It is extremely transmissible and more contagious than any other virus — form of the virus that we’ve seen,” she said.
Sydney has now been in lockdown for almost two weeks after the premier put stay-at-home orders in place in four Local Government Areas in Central Sydney on Thursday 1 July. The rest of Greater Sydney, as well as Wollongong, the Blue Mountains, and the Central Coast went into lockdown on Saturday 3 July.
357 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in NSW since mid-June. The outbreak started in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and quickly spread West across the rest of the city and beyond.
Lockdown had been scheduled to finish at midnight this Friday but with the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID still spreading in the community, health officials are being cautious.
This is the second time that stay-at-home orders have been extended in the Sydney region.
Berejiklian said that it would be better to have a strong lockdown for longer, rather than “moving in and out of lockdown”.
The decision was made by the NSW government’s Crisis Cabinet Committee after extensive meetings yesterday and announced this morning in a press conference.
For the next week, people in the locked-down areas will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes like shopping, working, exercise, and medical reasons.
New restrictions for schools
The premier also announced new restrictions for schools, with learning to take place online in lockdown regions from Tuesday next week when school pupils are supposed to return from holidays.
Regional schools however will return to classrooms as normal.
The reason for the new restrictions is to limit the movement of people in the locked down regions and not because of the threat to children from the Delta strain.
“We need to stop literally hundred of thousand of adults moving around and interacting with each other inadvertently as they drop kids off, pick kids up at those usual times”, Berejiklian said.
“Whilst the virus is more contagious in children, or this strain is, than we have seen previous strains, our main concern is too many people being mobile at the same time and having those interactions”.
The last lockdown?
Yesterday, Berejiklian said that she did not want people to feel worried or concerned about the future and that the state is moving forward however today she stressed that further restrictions could be put in place if cases continue to climb.
She said that she hoped this one will be the “last lockdown” that we will have to deal with until the majority of people are vaccinated.
“What we want to do is give us our best chance of making sure this is the only lockdown we have until the vast majority of our citizens are vaccinated”.
“We appreciate and understand the stress this means for individuals, for families and, of course, for businesses”.
Non-essential businesses will continue to remain closed, with hospitality venues allowed to serve takeaway food only. The NSW government is thought to be working on a plan to ease the burden on businesses during lockdown in the next few days.
“We know the vaccine is the key to our freedom. The vaccine is key to saving lives and keeping the economy open,” Berejiklian stressed.
Both the Premier and the Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant have emphasised the need for residents to stay at home. They called on people in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool regions, where the new cases are concentrated, to stay at home as much as possible.
“Please, in those three local government areas limit your movement, the New South Wales government doesn’t want to go to the next stage but we are even considering if there are any further actions we need to take in those three local government areas”.