Sydney and surrounds will remain in lockdown for at least five weeks, with NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing a two-week extension to the restrictions until Friday, July 30.
“It always hurts to say this,” the Premier said, announcing the third extension of the lockdown since it began on June 26.
“We will assess the situation at the end of those two weeks and provide information beyond that.”
That means restrictions currently in place across Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour continue until at least the end of the month. Restrictions in regional NSW remain unchanged.
Online learning for students will also continue for an additional two weeks too.
The Premier said: “The reason why we want to provide that two-week period at least is so that parents who are teaching children or supervising children from home know that unfortunately for an additional two weeks at least their children will need to learn from home.”
There were 97 new locally acquired cases in NSW to 8pm Tuesday, including 70 from south-western Sydney.
Of those new cases, 24 were infectious in the community.
There are now 71 people in hospital, with 20 people in intensive care, including four requiring ventilation.
One person in ICU is in their 20s, two in their 30s, two in their 40s and five in their 50s.
NSW recorded 97 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. pic.twitter.com/YfNptxyua5
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) July 14, 2021
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said that while majority are from close contacts and household contacts, they are seeing unlinked cases, with contact tracers now investigating the sources.
“We are seeing some in workplaces, so again, a reminder that for those essential businesses, they ensure they have those Covid-safe practices in place,” she said.
Yesterday Amazon closed down its main Sydney fulfilment centre for deep cleaning after two works tested positive for COVID-19.
Southwestern Sydney cluster grows
Dr Chant said the Fairfield local government area remains a key hotspot.
“The areas of concern are Fairfield local government area, Roselands, Rosebury, Canterbury, Belmore, Sutherland shire, the St George area, Windsor, St Ives, Penrith and Bayside local government area,” she said.
Massive queues for COVID testing occurred in the Fairfield region overnights, with hundreds turned away, amid new requirements from the government that any worker from the Fairfield who travels outside the local government area (LGA) for work will need to be tested every three days for COVID-19.
Anyone from Greater Sydney travelling to regional NSW for essential work is also required to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
“Unfortunately the main cases of community transmission are still direct family contacts or else work bases, and that’s why we have to put in those measures yesterday to clamp down on those two areas which are providing unfortunately the greatest rates of transmission which we have to reduce,” the Premier said, adding that the number of testing centres in the region is being increased.
Deputy police commissioner Gary Worboys said it was “a very challenging situation last night” in Fairfield around those testing centres.
Police will work with health and government authorities to improve logistics and traffic planning, which saw roads blocked with testing queues.
Premier Berijkilian said it was ok for workers to travel outside the Fairfield LGA to get tested, but if they have COVID symptoms, they should not be going to work.
“If you are an essential worker or someone who cannot work from home and must conduct particular work living in the Fairfield Local Government Act area, you can get tested next to your place of work,” she said.
Yesterday the government announced new measures to support small businesses hit by the lockdown restrictions, including paying up to 40% of a company’s wages bill
NSW treasurer, Dominic Perrottet also emphasised new protections against evictions as part of the package.
“Whether you are a commercial tenant, residential or retail tenant, there will be no lockouts or evictions,” he said.
“As a residential tenant there will be no forced evictions for 60 days. Mandatory mediation is in place as well as support. I encourage all landlords to speak to their tenants and, if your tenant is struggling, to engage with them in a payment plan, a reduction in rents and we will provide an equivalent offset in terms of your land tax obligations.”
More on the business support package is outlined here.
Victorian cases grow
Meanwhile, there have been seven new cases in Victoria linked to two removalists from southwest Sydney amid two separate chains of transmission.
The MCG is now an exposure site are a man in his 60s from Ariele Apartments, where four cases in two separate apartments have been detected, was a spectator at the Carlton-Geelong on July 10.
Victorian authorities have struggled to obtain details from the two men from Sydney and it has now emerged that they crossed the border in two seperate trucks.
To see where to get tested, visit https://t.co/WZI0U7Tsqu. Check exposure sites regularly. New exposure sites can be added, and current exposure site details can change based on subsequent investigations. https://t.co/SQ5trZH2NI
— VicGovDH (@VicGovDH) July 13, 2021