The five million people living in Sydney and its surrounding regions should learn on Wednesday if the New South Wales (NSW) state government will end its CCP virus lockdown measures after Friday.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will consult with health experts throughout Tuesday and early the following morning and said she hopes “to be able to update the community” on Wednesday.
“We’ll base what next week looks like in the regions and in Greater Sydney on the health advice,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
NSW reported 18 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Monday. This is a significant drop in numbers from the 35 cases reported on the previous day.
There were seven people in the community for at least some of their infectious period. These new cases bring the total number of cases from the latest outbreak to 330.
The premier said the reduced case numbers demonstrate that the lockdown was “having its desired effect”, but she was still concerned at the “number of cases are remaining infectious in the community for that period of time.”
The stay-at-home orders for more than five million people in Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Shellharbour, the Central Coast, and the Blue Mountains regions are due to end at midnight on Friday.
Berejiklian said the length of the lockdown would be informed by the fact that the NSW government wants this to be the state’s last lockdown.
“We intend for this lockdown to be the only lockdown we go through,” she said.
She warned that the Delta strain was “far more contagious” and it “reacts in a way that’s different to other parts of the virus we’ve seen.” As such, until more citizens are vaccinated, she warned restrictions might persist even after the lockdown ends.
“We also have to accept this new world we’re living in. This Delta strain of the virus is likely to be the dominant strain of the virus until we have further information, and we also appreciate that we need to vaccinate more of our population before we can live as freely as we would like,” Berejiklian said.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said about 80 percent of the population needed to be vaccinated “as swiftly as we can … (but) the constraint is supply.”
Sixteen of the state’s new cases were linked to a known case or cluster, including nine household contacts of previous cases, NSW Health reported. Two cases are still under investigation.
NSW Health also said there were 26 COVID-19 cases in the hospital, with six in intensive care, two of whom require ventilation.
According to St George Bank economists, the two-week lockdown in NSW is expected to cost the economy about $750 million a week or more.