Sydney swings into action as COVID cluster grows

By Melissa Coade

Friday June 25, 2021

Gladys Berejiklian covid mask
The support package to help NSW businesses will be expanded past August 28. (AAP Image_Dean Lewins)

NSW residents who live or work in the four local government areas of Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and the City of Sydney are in lockdown and subject to a stay-at-home order.

Locals from the four LGAs will only be allowed outside of their homes for four reasons:

  • Shopping for food or other essential goods and services;
  • Medical care or compassionate needs;
  • Exercise outdoors in groups of 10 or fewer;
  • Essential work, or education, where you cannot work or study from home.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said she appreciated the government’s decision would negatively impact local businesses.

“We understand this is a difficult time for everyone, however we need to take these steps now to get on top of this outbreak,” the premier said.

“People should only enter the four LGAs for essential purposes.”

Residents across the greater Sydney area are being encouraged by the government to ‘limit unnecessary activity’ and avoid large gatherings in the coming days. Locals have been warned that they cannot travel outside metropolitan Sydney for non-essential reasons. 

“The advice from [NSW Health] is that we don’t want to see this situation linger for weeks,” the premier told a press conference on Friday.

“We are on top of all the cases at the moment, bar one (a child), but this is really to make sure that we can prevent further spread, prevent further dislocation and it does help us having school holidays […] that school isn’t [open],” she said. 

The Guardian has shared anecdotal reports of supermarkets in Sydney experiencing a run on toilet paper. 

“Please don’t panic buy, there’s no need for that,” Berejiklian said.

On Thursday the state government added new venues of concern to its growing list of potential COVID-19 contact sites in Sydney’s Inner West, Easter, North Shore, Western and South-Western Suburbs. Cafes, furniture stores, a pharmacy, an industrial complex, a health club, as well as a 7-Eleven and Kmart store are among possible venues of transmission.

An additional 11 positive COVID-19 people were added to the latest numbers of cases in NSW, with an extra 17 locally acquired cases reported overnight. A total of 56 people in NSW are being treated for COVID-19 and one person is being treated in intensive care. 

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said that she had ‘significant concerns’ about COVID-19 spread originating from a Double Bay hairdresser with three staff members who were working while infectious and potentially in contact with about 900 others visiting the store. Two customers who visited the shop have already tested positive for COVID-19.

“I expect more cases to be detected over the coming days. I am urging all clients and staff of Joh Bailey between the 15-23 June to be tested and maintain quarantine as directed by NSW Health,” Dr Chant said.

“We need to reduce people’s movement so that by the time we are getting to them we have limited the number of activities or sites that they have done – hence the advice to government to extend those stay-at-home directions to those four local government areas,” she added.

The NSW government has now mandated the wearing of face masks on public transport (including in taxis and rideshare services) for the Greater Sydney area. Masks should also be worn at train stations, bus stops, and wharfs. 

Residents are also being encouraged to wear masks in indoor settings when visiting places such as shopping centres, spas, bank and post office branches, places of worship and in the work office. 

All other government restrictions already in place, which includes a limit of five people visiting the home and a ban on singing audiences indoors, will extend until midnight Friday July 2. These restrictions had originally been set to end on Wednesday.

The latest NSW COVID-19 outbreak has also reached Victoria, with the Melbourne co-worker of a man who contracted COVID-19 while visiting Sydney testing positive. The co-worker returned to Melbourne from Sydney last Sunday.

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