NSW records 112 community cases of Covid-19 as experts call for even tighter lockdown restrictions. Video / The Morning Show
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has said his government “lost control” of the latest Covid-19 outbreak and could have locked down Greater Sydney a week earlier.
Barilaro told the ABC the government followed health advice, but there was “no question, last week we lost control of the Delta strain”.
“Hindsight is a beautiful thing. Absolutely you could have gone a week earlier, three days earlier, four days earlier, but the reality is … that wasn’t the advice,” he said.
Defending the government’s actions, Barilaro said there was “no rulebook” on how to respond to outbreaks of Covid-19 and that the state was dealing with something it had never encountered before with the Delta variant of the virus.
Barilaro told 7 News that NSW residents should brace for another rise in Covid-19 cases today and that Greater Sydney “won’t be coming out of lockdown [as scheduled] at the end of the week”.
The situation had gotten “out of control” and the government was now “working with our community to make sure we get on top of it so we can come out of lockdown sooner rather than later,” he said.
When asked why so many seemingly non-essential shops were allowed to remain open during lockdown, Barilaro said the government had never chosen what stores are considered essential “because everyone has different needs at different times”.
Barilaro’s comments come after NSW recorded 112 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of infections in the outbreak to 678.
Dire lockdown prediction
Sydney’s lockdown could last until the end of August, one expert says, pointing to the difficulty Melbourne experienced getting its cases down during its second lockdown.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian acknowledging yesterday it would be “almost impossible” for authorities to lift the lockdown on Friday as scheduled.
While the state has not yet revealed how long any extension would be, some experts have suggested it could last between three to four weeks.
Professor Michael Toole, a leading epidemiologist at the Burnet Institute pointed out Melbourne took six weeks to get its Covid cases down to almost zero from around 100 during its second lockdown last year.
The city — which endured a three and a half month lockdown last year — recorded 100 cases on August 30, 2020.
“It reached almost zero on October 14, so it took six to seven weeks, and that was with the strictest possible restrictions,” Toole said.
Greater Sydney’s current restrictions are not yet as strict as Melbourne’s lockdown rules, which included a curfew, 5km travel limit and the closure of non-essential retail shops.
NSW outbreak reaches Melbourne
Victoria has now confirmed three new Covid-19 cases.
Victoria’s Covid Commander Jeroen Weimar said three of a family of four from the City of Hume in Melbourne arrived on a flight from Sydney on July 4 carrying red zone permits.
The other person entered Victoria by road on July 8.
They all initially tested negative after arrival but two became symptomatic and were tested on Sunday with a positive result recorded on Monday morning. A third member of the household tested positive today and was isolating throughout their infectious period.
Adding to the tension is the positive test of two members of a removalist crew who travelled through Victoria and South Australia.
Three removalists, two of whom have tested positive to Covid-19, arrived in Melbourne on Thursday to deliver furniture to two households, one in Craigieburn and one in Maribyrnong.
They then stayed overnight in Melbourne before heading to South Australia on Friday morning. Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong has been put into lockdown as a result.
The cases come after Victoria recorded its 12th day of no community cases and the state effectively shut the border to NSW and the ACT overnight, declaring them red zones under the travel permit system.