Greater Sydney will remain in lockdown for another four weeks at the daily Covid cases continue to climb to record levels.
There were 177 new cases to 8pm Tuesday, with 74 linked to a known case or cluster – 60 are household contacts and 14 are close contacts – and the source of infection for 103 cases is under investigation. But 46cases were infectious in the community, and the isolation status of 62 cases remains under investigation.
A woman in her 90s died from Covid in Liverpool Hospital yesterday. She was not vaccinated.
The total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic is now 8,105.
NSW recorded 177 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. pic.twitter.com/UPgvzflhFm
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) July 28, 2021
The lockdown includes the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour.
Three new local government areas (LGAs) have been added to the regions of concern – Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown – along with Fairfield, Blacktown, Cumberland, Canterbury-Bankstown, and Liverpool – taking the total to eight.
People in those LGAs will not be allowed to leave them for work.
On the upside, there are changes for some LGAs will it comes to regular Covid testing. In Fairfield, only aged care and health care workers need to be tested every three days, and in Canterbury- Bankstown area, essential workers need to be tested every three days
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said higher vaccination rates and following the health orders are the only way to guarantee the further easing of restrictions.
“Though the Pfizer supply is insufficient there is plenty of AstraZeneca, and updated federal health advice recommends anyone aged 18 and over in Greater Sydney should access the jab,” she said.
“If you are unvaccinated, please organise a jab as soon as you possibly can, especially if you live in an LGA of concern.”
The Premier said that she was hopeful the lockdown would only continue for another month, but she was concerned that people weren’t wearing masks at work.
“I was so disturbed when I saw images today publicly made available of workplaces not even wearing masks indoors or not even complying to the health orders. This cannot happen,” she said.
Shopping rules tightened
The 10km rule that currently applies to how far you can travel from home for exercise will now also apply to shopping. The new rule applies from midnight tonight.
The Premier said people an expect an increased police presence to ensure people are following the restrictions and encouraged people to report anyone doing the wrong thing.
There is some good news for construction workers, year 12 students and people living on their own.
Construction on “non-occupied” sites will resume in Greater Sydney from Saturday, July 31, but not in the eight LGAs of concern, although businesses in those areas can open if they’re part of the construction supply chain.
And tradespeople, and cleaners, can visit your home, provided it is “contactless” and there is no interaction with the residents. But it’s not allowed in the eight LGA hotspots.
NSW deputy premier John Barilaro said construction supply chain workers will be added to the authorised workers list and will be allowed to leave their local area for work, subject to meeting COVID-19 surveillance testing requirements.
“Works in occupied premises including residential homes can also resume from this Saturday where there is zero contact between workers and residents. There will be a limit of up to two workers for indoor services and five workers for outdoor services, and works will only be possible where it is feasible for residents to vacate the area. If contactless arrangements are not possible, work cannot go ahead,” he said.
And in a bid to make up for lost time, construction worksites will be able to operate on Sundays and public holidays for the remainder of 2021.
While online learning will continue for school students until August 28, Year 12 students will return face-to-face learning from August 16, with the government diverting Pfizer vaccine from regional NSW in the eight hotspot LGAs in a bit to get students aged 16-18 vaccinated.
Premier Berejiklian said they did not receive any extra doses of the vaccine from other state or federal governments.
“I want to thank in advance regional NSW where we will take some Pfizer vaccines given the changing health advice around AstraZeneca and make sure that year 12 students in those local government areas of concern are provided with the vaccine,” Premier Berejiklian said.
Rapid antigen testing of students, which delivers Covid testing results in 30 minutes, will be introduced.
The “singles bubble”, a feature of the Victorian lockdowns, allow people living alone to nominate someone they can hang out with over the next month.
“If you have been living by yourself, you are allowed to nominate one person that is allowed to visit you but it has to be the same person,” the Premier said
It can be a family member, or someone from another household, but if you live outside of the eight LGA hotspots, it can’t be someone from there.
“If you are within those areas it has to be within those areas and within a 10 kilometre distance,” Berejiklian said.
“You can nominate one person but it has to be the same person. You cannot have a different person every day. You have to nominate the one person that is your buddy or is part of your singles bubble for the next four weeks to make sure that we do not spread the virus.”
What you can and can’t do
From midnight tonight, July 28:
- In line with exercise rules, Greater Sydney residents including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour must limit their shopping to within their Local Government Area (LGA) or, if outside their LGA, within 10km from home, unless the item is not available locally.
- Given localised case numbers, the Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River LGAs will join the five existing LGAs of concern which are subject to an Authorised Workers Order. Only authorised workers in these eight LGAs may leave their LGA for work.
The five previously announced LGAs of concern are Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Blacktown and Cumberland.
From 12.01am, Saturday, July 31:
- Construction in non-occupied settings outside of the LGAs of concern (with no residents on-site) will re-open as planned, subject to a one person per 4sqm rule. These low-risk construction sites must have COVID safe plans in place, compliance will be strictly enforced. Construction cannot resume in the eight LGAs of concern, nor will construction workers be allowed to leave these areas.
- Trades people, including cleaners who are able to work with zero contact with residents will also be allowed to resume (no more than two people inside and five outside). If contactless arrangements are not possible, work cannot go ahead. This work will not be allowed in the eight LGAs of concern, nor will workers be allowed to leave these areas.
- A singles bubble will also be introduced, allowing people who live alone to nominate one designated family member or friend to visit for companionship. Restrictions will apply for people in the LGAs of concern.
Changes to surveillance testing from Saturday, July 31:
- All authorised workers from Canterbury-Bankstown LGA must get tested once every three days in order to leave their LGA for work.
- People who live in the Fairfield and Cumberland LGAs but work outside these areas as health or aged care workers (including support services for health or aged care, such as cleaners, cooks and security providers) must be tested once every three days in order to be allowed to go to work outside their LGA.
- These surveillance testing requirements will be enforceable from Saturday, 31 July. However, relevant workers will have from today to get their first test.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said restrictions in regional NSW will remain unchanged.
“The lockdown in Greater Sydney and every measure and precaution we implement is not only for the residents of Sydney but to protect regional NSW and to prevent the virus reaching our regional communities,” he said.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said they are working with the federal government to provide extra financial support to businesses and people hit hardest by this pandemic, costing around $650 million a day.
The latest information is available at nsw.gov.au/covid-19