NSW COVID lockdown: State set to extend measures in Greater Sydney for four weeks

Catie McLeodThe West Australian
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Camera IconNSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Credit: Joel Carrett/AAP

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is reportedly set to extend the lockdown in Greater Sydney by four weeks.

According to media reports on Tuesday evening, the Premier will announce the extension on Wednesday morning.

Authorities are struggling to control the spread of COVID-19 in Australia’s largest city, which has been locked down since June 26.

The highly-transmissible Delta variant has now been transmitted to more than 2000 people in NSW, where the number of fresh cases remain persistently high.

Ten people have died in this outbreak including a 38-year-old woman with no underlying medical conditions.

Greater Sydney’s strict social distancing restrictions were supposed to be lifted on Friday, but Ms Berejiklian is expected to extend them after the state recorded its highest daily number of locally acquired cases since this outbreak began.

In the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, 172 people were newly confirmed to have the virus, at least 60 of whom were active in the community while infectious.

Ms Berejiklian has repeatedly said the lockdown will not be lifted until the number of people infectious in the community gets close to zero.

It is understood the state’s crisis cabinet met on Tuesday night to finalise the plan for the extension.

The cabinet has agreed to allow construction work to recommence from Saturday, excluding tradespeople who live in local government areas with high rates of Covid transmission, according to The Australian.

The masthead also reported that the NSW government would introduce a “singles bubble”, to allow locked down Sydneysiders, who aren’t in relationships, to socialise with one designated friend for support.

Ms Berejiklian said at her Tuesday press conference she was hoping to announce some changes to the lockdown rules “as early as” Wednesday.

“I know it’s really difficult not to speculate, but … I’m hoping to make those announcements as early as tomorrow, to give people plenty of notice,” she said.

Even though that daily number has remained far from zero and is unlikely to get there before Saturday, Ms Berejiklian refused to speculate on whether the lockdown would still be in place after that day.

“I would much rather have a definite position, rather than speculate,” she said.

“We’ve put in the hard yards of five weeks and we don’t want to waste all that great work we’ve done by opening too soon.”

Meanwhile restrictions are set to ease from midnight in South Australia and Victoria, whose state governments had enforced tough lockdowns after recording only a few locally acquired cases of the Delta variant.

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