Millions of NSW residents will go into lockdown tonight in the state's latest attempt to stamp out Covid-19 infections spreading across greater Sydney.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced further rules for NSW as infections in the state increased to 82 cases.
From 6pm today, all of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong will go into lockdown until midnight on July 9.
This means residents will only be able to leave their homes for four reasons:
– Work or education which must be done outside the home
– To seek medical attention
– Outdoor exercise
– Care or compassionate grounds
Berejiklian made the announcement this afternoon after NSW recorded 29 new community Covid infections earlier today - the biggest rise in daily cases since the latest outbreak began. Seventeen of those cases were announced yesterday.
Cases were identified beyond the four council areas that went into lockdown last night: Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and City of Sydney.
Infectious cases in community for 'days'
Speaking about the factors which led to the decision, NSW's chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said there have been a large amount of unknowingly infectious cases in the community for "a number of days".
According to Chant, contact tracers were able to identify a missing link between exposure venues which "unearthed a large number of cases". Among this was a workplace cluster, and other cases which have been linked to that transmission.
"That's why the concern is there," she said. "We now know that there have been a lot of people infectious in the community (which has) come out of unearthing this chain of transmission."
'Think twice before leaving home'
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard called on NSW residents to stay at home, stressing to employers to implement work-from-home orders where possible.
"That's a clear requirement to stop the movement around our communities," he said. "So again, I apologise to the business sector, but I think we've found that we can be extremely productive with our workers working at home and certainly to allow them to do that will minimise at least one group of people from moving around unnecessarily."
He once again asked people to cease "moving around" in order to "defeat the virus".
"Don't play games with yourself and with the community. Please stay at home unless you really need to go out or you have one of the four reasons, and even then, think twice before you do it."
New rules for regional NSW
Berejiklian said the parts of regional NSW that aren't going into lockdown will have to observe restrictions that have been in place for broader Sydney since the recent cluster.
- No more than five visitors in people's homes
- All hospitality has to be seated - one person per four square metres
- 50 per cent capacity for outdoor events
- Indoor mask wearing and restrictions in relation to funerals and weddings
"So for those parts of New South Wales that aren't in lockdown, restrictions still apply because we want to make sure that if there have been any occasions where people unknowingly have taken the virus outside into the regions, that we don't have any spread in those regions," she said.