Lockdown end date unclear, PM says
The NSW premier declined to “concede” that the lockdown would extend beyond Friday, explaining the main reason it is still pending.
Gladys Berejiklian was asked if she could “now admit … that this lockdown will last at least three to four weeks” given that there had been 112 new local cases of the coronavirus on Monday.
She said the lockdown will continue for as long as it takes.
“Listen, it depends on how quickly our community responds to contagious cases in the community,” she said.
“It really depends on us. Advice from health experts will be based on what those numbers look like.
“I can’t be clearer than that. Yesterday we had at least 34 cases where people were contagious (in the community) for the duration of their illness.
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“Now that’s the number we need to get as close to zero as possible and I understand that we all wish we had a crystal ball to know when that might be.”
Earlier, she told Sydneysiders: “We all want to get out of this lockdown as soon as possible. We all want to reduce the stress we all feel and the future is in our hands. “
The prime minister has not introduced any new rules despite the record number of 112 cases on Monday.
Experts say without a serious rule change to reflect what Melbourne did in its second wave, “worse” is an understatement.
The current rules for Sydneysiders mean that a person can only leave their home for four reasons – to get food and essentials once a day, for work, for exercise, or for treatment. or get vaccinated.
The races can only be done by one person per household and a travel limit of 10 km has been imposed for exercise and outdoor recreation.
The exercise was initially allowed with up to 10 people outside, but that number has been reduced to two.
Reasonable excuses for being out of the home include access to child care, blood donation, moving, attending a funeral, caregiving, accessing social services, committing to legal obligations and to avoid the risk of harm.
Face masks are mandatory in all indoor environments, including public transportation, and funerals have been capped at 10 people.
Under the current rules, pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes are open for take-out, but places of worship, hairdressers, auction houses, betting companies, markets, massage parlors , discos and swimming pools are all closed without exception.
All schools have been closed to face-to-face learning.
UNSW assistant professor and health policy consultant Bill Bowtell is among experts calling for tighter restrictions.
He told ABC News Breakfast that the current rules are “not enough, they don’t look like the step four restrictions in the gold standard state for those things, who is Victoria, and until whether they are, we will fall behind in trying to stop the spread of the Delta variant in Sydney ”.
He said that “large retailers that do not provide essential goods and services should not be opened”.
“Police have a lot more to do than stand in front of essential retailers. Let’s be realistic. We got into this problem because there is too much politics, too much influence from big business. What will get us out of this is to follow the science.
University of South Australia professor of epidemiology, Adrian Esterman, told news.com.au the same will lead to a continuing increase in cases.
“Einstein once said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” he said.
“I don’t see why (the numbers) will decrease with an additional week of lockdown, unless there is another intervention. This means imposing even stricter restrictions, including strengthening the definition of an essential worker or introducing a curfew, and sort of better compliance with regulations. “
ABC Radio Melbourne host Raf Epstein tweeted that Sydney was “like watching a replay of a football game”.
“You already know your team is going to lose and you know all the mistakes they’ve made… and you’re still screaming on screen,” he wrote.
The comments come after the death of a 90-year-old woman on Saturday, hours after testing positive for Covid-19.
His was the first death from a locally acquired infection in Australia this year.
Lockdown rules were tightened on Friday and Ms Berejiklian warned stay-at-home orders should remain in place unless there is a dramatic turnaround.
“Considering where we are at and given that the lockdown was supposed to be lifted on Friday, anyone can say it’s highly unlikely at this point, given the numbers,” she said.
Sydney has recorded 566 new infections since the outbreak began in mid-June.
The federal government launched a new advertising campaign on Sunday encouraging people to “arm themselves” against Covid-19 by getting bitten, although vaccines have yet to be offered to most under-40s.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said more ‘graphic’ ads would air in Sydney urging people to follow stay-at-home orders, as police bolster enforcement amid reports of rule disregard was widespread.
Australia has recorded just over 31,000 Covid-19 cases and 911 deaths out of a population of around 25 million to date.
– with AFP