New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said the Delta variant outbreak of the CCP virus in Sydney had become a “national emergency.”
“There is no doubt that the numbers are not going in the direction we hoped they would at this stage, and it is fairly apparent we will nowhere close to zero come next Friday,” Berejiklian said.
The state government had been advised by the NSW Chief Health Officer (CHO) Kerry Chant and her team of medical personnel that Sydney is in a serious situation, and it was right to declare a “national emergency,” Berejiklian added.
This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Sydney rose again in the 24 hour period to 136, with one man dying from COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Of the locally-acquired cases, 77 were linked to a known case or cluster. Sixty-five cases were household contacts, and 12 were close contacts. A further 59 cases are under investigation.
Of most concern to NSW was how 53 of the new cases were out in the community while infectious. A further 53 were in isolation throughout their infectious period, 17 were in isolation for part of their infectious period, and 13 cases remain under investigation.
Sydney has been locked down for a month. The delta variant cluster has spread from Sydney to Victoria and South Australia states which are also locked down. Half Australia’s population of 26 million is currently locked down.
“Dr. Chant and her team advised us that the situation that exists now in New South Wales, namely around the southern and south-western suburbs of Sydney, is regarded as a national emergency,” Berejiklian told reporters on Friday.
The NSW government has extended its restrictions to Cumberland and Blackwell local government areas (LGA)—meaning only authorised workers may leave the LGA. The order has previously been applied to people in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool districts.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard urged Sydneysiders to get vaccinated, calling it a “duty to do what they can” to “defeat … a Delta variant of a virus.”
“Can I just remind citizens, especially in south-western and Western Sydney, that that duty would absolutely be addressed if you would go and get vaccinated,” he said.
About 15 percent of adult Australians are fully vaccinated. While there are ample supplies of locally-manufactured AstraZeneca, many are concerned about the slight risk of blood clots associated with that vaccine and are demanding Pfizer, the only alternative registered in Australia.
Berejiklian used the press conference to also call for a “rethink” on the national vaccination strategy to stop it from spreading further, adding that there’s a “need” to “get more of them into arms,” referring to the vaccines.
“Even if it is the first jab because we know that reduces transmission or protects someone up to 30 per cent, and that is very important,” the premier said, latter adding, “If NSW can contain a virus and stay safe, our nation can.”
Chant echoed the premier and called for more vaccines to be distributed to hotspot areas in southwestern and western Sydney.
The call from Chant and Berejiklian comes after NSW Health revealed the majority of the new cases of COVID-19 recorded were from South and Western regions of Sydney, with 62 coming from South Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), 29 from Western Sydney LHD.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.