Two-week lockdown for Sydney, Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing the two-week lockdown on Saturday, 26 July, 2021. Image: NSW Health livestream/Facebook.

By PETER HACKNEY

The previously announced lockdown of four local government areas (Randwick, Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra) has been expanded to cover the entire Sydney metropolitan area – as well as the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong – after a significant increase in Covid-19 case numbers and exposure sites across Greater Sydney.

The lockdown period has also been extended by a week; previously slated to end at 11.59pm on Friday, 2 July, the stay-at-home order now applies until 11.59pm on Friday, 9 July.

As of 6pm tonight, residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons:

  • Work or education which must be done outside the home;
  • To purchase essential goods and services;
  • To seek medical attention (including Covid-19 tests and vaccinations);
  • Care or compassionate grounds;
  • Outdoor exercise (in groups of ten or fewer).

Residents of all other areas of NSW will now be required to follow restrictions that were previously placed on Sydney, which include having a maximum of five visitors at a home, wearing masks at public indoor venues, hospitality venues reduced to one person per square metre and outdoor venues reduced to 50 per cent capacity. 

The moves, announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian a short time ago, come after 29 cases were recorded in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

A further 12 new cases were recorded since the official cut-off period, bringing the total number of cases in the current Sydney outbreak to 82. 

The list of exposure sites – previously largely restricted to Central Sydney and the Eastern Suburbs – has blown out to include locations in the suburbs of Auburn, Bankstown, Casula, Cecil Hills, Chipping Norton, Lakemba, Marrickville, Narrabeen, Rouse Hill and Ryde, among others. 

Premier gets tough

Announcing the two-week lockdown after an emergency cabinet meeting this afternoon, the premier said there was no point doing a “short, sharp” lockdown. 

“If we’re going to do this, we need to do it properly. There’s no point doing a three-day and then having the virus continue to bubble away in the community,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Now, if after seven days, there’s a dramatic change in the trend, we’ll obviously evaluate the situation.

“We’re finding that all household contacts, unfortunately, are getting the virus. Transmissibility is at least double what previous variants had been. 

“We do need to brace ourselves for potentially larger number of cases in the following days and that’s why it’s so important that we take action now,” she said. 

Renewed testing call

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant renewed calls for people who had visited known exposure sites, contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 and anyone with Covid-19 symptoms to get tested.

She said a potential super spreader event had been identified, linked to the Great Ocean Foods store at Marrickville.

For a full list of exposure sites, visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/case-locations-and-alerts.aspx.

For information on Covid testing, including the location of your nearest Covid testing clinic, visit www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/how-to-protect-yourself-and-others/clinics.

Peter Hackney is the editor-in-chief of the Sydney Sentinel.

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