NSW Records 105 Cases, Elderly Deaths as Lockdown Tightens

By AAP
AAP
AAP
July 17, 2021 Updated: July 17, 2021

NSW has recorded 105 new COVID-19 cases as residents in Greater Sydney adjust to tougher lockdown restrictions designed to curb the rate of infection.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said 27 of the new cases had been infectious while in the community.

“That’s the number that worries us the most,” she said on Sunday.

The state is yet to see a significant drop in case numbers following lockdown conditions in the capital for three weeks.

Berejiklian said she expected a lag of between five or six days until case numbers began to drop as a result of the latest restrictions.

“We still want the community to be more vigilant than ever before,” she said.

Residents are barred from leaving three council areas while all but critical retailers across Sydney are closed as the city doubles down in its most serious battle yet with COVID-19.

The new cases follow the death of a man in his 80s reported on Saturday and a woman in her 90s reported on Sunday.

Stay-at-home orders have been tightened in Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown, and Liverpool with locals not allowed to leave until July 30 unless they work in health or emergency services.

However, the southwestern lockdown has prompted a harsh response from some within the medical community.

The Doctors Reform Society says enough Pfizer vaccine to administer to all 600,000 adults who live within the three municipalities should be provided within the next fortnight.

“It is not fair and it doesnt make any medical sense to completely lockdown several local government areas of Sydney without providing a means to escape lockdown by not providing sufficient vaccines,” DRS President Dr Con Costa said in a statement on Sunday.

Tougher restrictions apply to the entire Greater Sydney region as well.

From Sunday, supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, and few other retailers will be allowed to open and will have to operate with “click and collect” or takeaway.

Construction sites, large or small, will be shut.

All office workers and others working from home should not be pressured to go in to work, with employers to potentially incur a A$10,000 fine if they push staff to attend.

Berejiklian also told Sydneysiders not to carpool with anyone.

With data modelling based on more than 400 exposure sites indicating everyone in Sydney is at risk, the premier said the harder line was needed.

She defended the measures taken to curb the outbreak so far, saying they had prevented “thousands and thousands” of cases and the further restrictions were a “no-regrets policy.”

The harsher measures were prompted by the persistent numbers of people infectious in the community before they were diagnosed.

Residents were assured on Saturday that government agencies would mobilise between now and July 30 to provide them with supplies and services as needed.

A full list of NSW exposure sites can be found at health.nsw.gov.au

Victoria

Meanwhile, 17 new locally acquired virus cases have been recorded in Victoria, including a case in regional Mildura after a man presented at hospital with COVID-19 symptoms after returning from the Carlton-Geelong AFL match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Saturday.

The locally acquired cases are all linked to the current outbreaks and Victoria’s health department said it is engaging with six schools after they were linked to positive cases.

A stay-at-home order is due to expire at midnight on Tuesday, but could be extended based on data including case numbers and exposure sites, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.

“Every Victorian needs to ready themself for what might emerge over the next 24/48 hours,” he said on Saturday.

“All I can say is the response couldn’t have been better. The judgements that have been made around a hard and fast lockdown have been the right ones. And that’s got us on a good track.

“We’ve got settings in place until Tuesday midnight and we will make another assessment every day over the next three days.”

On Saturday authorities estimated there were 10,000 “primary close contacts” in Victoria and by Sunday morning had identified 217 potential COVID-19 exposure sites across the state.

Sites of concern include pubs, clubs, restaurants, sporting venues, shopping centres, schools and gyms in metropolitan Melbourne, suburbs and multiple locations at Phillip Island, a two-hour drive south of Melbourne.

The growing list of sites and restrictions can be found at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the state looks forward to the Commonwealth’s vaccination program push.

“I don’t think it’s a state secret that we are a long way behind where we should be in the vaccination program,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“That is one of the factors that has helped shape the public health team’s decision to go hard and go early (with a lockdown), because you cannot protect Victorians with what is, I think, 12 per cent of Victorians vaccinated.”

Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania have imposed border restrictions with Victoria.

AAP
AAP