Sydney lockdown rules tightened after 239 new Covid cases recorded

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. File photo.

By DAMIEN NOVAK

A slew of tough new Covid-19 restrictions has been announced after Sydney recorded 239 new Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night – the biggest one-day total since the pandemic began.

Two new Covid deaths were also reported in the 24-hour period: a woman in her 90s from south-western Sydney died at Liverpool Hospital yesterday morning, while a man in his 80s from south-western Sydney died yesterday afternoon at Royal North Shore Hospital.

The death toll from the current Covid outbreak, which began in Bondi in mid-June, now stands at 13. 

“At this level of cases, we are going to continue to see further deaths,” NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant told the media during this morning’s daily Covid-19 briefing.

Of the 239 locally acquired cases reported in NSW to 8pm yesterday, 104 are from south-western Sydney, 58 are from Western Sydney, 51 are from Central Sydney, 14 are from south-eastern Sydney and five are from the Nepean– Blue Mountains area.

A whopping 126 of the 239 cases are mystery cases cases, yet to be linked to a known case or cluster – leading NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to state: “We can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better.”

At time of writing, there were 182 people hospitalised for Covid-19, including two teenagers, eight people in their 20s, four in their 30s and three in their 40s.

New rules from midnight

Given the seriousness of the situation, Ms Berejiklian announced a number of extra measures to come in at midnight tonight, aimed at stemming the spread of the visus. 

Residents of eight LGAs – Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool and Parramatta – must now wear face masks not only at indoor public venues but whenever they leave their homes, including outdoors. 

People in the eight LGAs must not travel more than five kilometres from their home for shopping, exercise or visits under the ‘single bubble’ arrangement.

The penalty in NSW for not wearing a mask when required will also be increased from $200 to $500.

Army called in

Thousands of police officers and hundreds of troops will be deployed across Geater Sydney to help enforce the new rules, particularly in the eight hotspot LGAs, the premier announced. 

New powers have been granted to the NSW Police Force to shut down businesses, construction sites and other public premises where they deem there is a risk to public health.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said this afternoon he had also requested assistance ofrom the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

“The NSW police force is significantly expanding its enforcement activities in Sydney over the coming days and has requested 300 ADF personnel to boost its operational footprint,” he said.

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