Coronavirus Covid 19: Sydney lockdown possible as epidemic grows


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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian provides an update on the Sydney lockdown situation. Video / 9 News

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hinted that the Sydney lockdown may continue into next week.

Sydney recorded 35 new cases on Monday – an equal daily record for the state’s coronavirus update – and 18 new cases overnight.

The lockdown affecting Greater Sydney is due to end at 11.59pm on Friday, July 9, but Berejiklian told reporters this morning that the lockdown “has had the desired effect so far … but it is still worrying that a number of cases remain infectious in the community “.

Berejiklian said a decision on the lockdown of Greater Sydney would be announced tomorrow morning, but warned Sydney residents that the Delta variant of the virus plaguing the city “is different from what we’ve been through” and requires “a different type of response “.

“If you look at other jurisdictions around the world, we can see that you can’t afford to let this slip away. Although we have the best contact tracers in the world, and I think the right settings at the right time for our population, we need to be aware that what we are experiencing with this strain is something new during the pandemic, ”she said.

“NSW wants this to be the last lockdown until the majority of our citizens are vaccinated,” Berejiklian said. “The difference now from what has happened over the past year since we had the only other lockdown is the Delta strain.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said a lockdown decision would be made tomorrow.  Photo / Getty Images
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said a lockdown decision would be made tomorrow. Photo / Getty Images

Berejiklian rejected the idea, put forward by a journalist, that a foreclosure decision had already been taken.

“The priority of the NSW government is to always keep the community safe above all else, but also to ensure that the economy is open,” she said. “It is this balanced approach that we will take in our decision making.”

Warnings against the end of locking

An epidemiologist has warned that New South Wales could see a further rise in Covid-19 cases if the lockdown is lifted before the state hits a critical figure.

As the number of people spending their infectious period in the community declines, University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely said that figure needs to be zero before Greater Sydney can safely exit the city. locking.

“For a lockdown to be successful, we really need to see the number of notified cases in the community go down to zero,” Blakely told the ABC.

A cleaner wipes the chairs at the Opera Cafe shortly before the imposition of lockdown restrictions in Greater Sydney.  Photo / Getty Images
A cleaner wipes the chairs at the Opera Cafe shortly before the imposition of lockdown restrictions in Greater Sydney. Photo / Getty Images

The two-week lockdown for Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour is expected to end at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, July 9.

However, Blakely said lifting the lockdown while there were still infectious cases in the community could see the epidemic “take off” once again.

“If we just open the restrictions at this point, they will just resume… this is how the virus behaves,” he said, adding that this was not just a risk for New Wales from the South, but also for the rest of Australia.

He said if he were in the shoes of Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant he would be “a little worried” if the numbers did not drop.

A team of economists, public health experts and modelers at the Australian National University also found that the benefits of blockages long enough to reduce community transmission to zero outweighed the short-term gains of a too early relaxation of blockages.

“Our main idea was that the lockdowns should be long enough to crush the virus, and that effective and longer lockdowns benefit both public health and the economy,” lead author Quentin Grafton said on Monday in a statement.

Sydney locked out at the junction of George Street and Bridge Street.  Photo / Supplied
Sydney locked out at the junction of George Street and Bridge Street. Photo / Supplied

Decisions should be based on facts on the ground such as the number of new cases, links to known chains of transmission and the number of new cases that are not already isolated, he said.

“The goal is to go early [with a lockdown] and go hard and go long enough to cause zero community transmission of Covid-19. The numbers don’t look good for Greater Sydney at the moment. “

Grafton stopped before calling for an extension of the lockdown, but said a decision should depend on the data available on Friday.

“We have to make sure we get this under control and we don’t have an epidemic.”

The virus would not just stay in Sydney, which meant the whole country could be at risk and it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars, he said.

A woman walks through an empty CBD during the first day of lockdown in Sydney, Australia.  Photo / Getty Images
A woman walks through an empty CBD during the first day of lockdown in Sydney, Australia. Photo / Getty Images

Tom Kompas, of the University of Melbourne, said authorities should rethink how the Covid-19 outbreaks have been handled.

“We are a long way from a post-Covid world. If we believe we can remove periods of movement restrictions when uncontrolled epidemics occur, we need to think again.

“The key point here is not to think of the economic costs over a period of a few weeks, no matter how large, but rather to consider the costs over a period of several months if community transmission continues.”

On Monday, Berejiklian said the next few days would be “critical” in deciding whether the lockdown would end on time, urging residents to adhere to the restrictions.

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