Covid 19 coronavirus: Sydney records 50 new community cases after NSW beefs up lockdown rules

NSW has recorded 50 new community Covid-19 cases – the highest daily number of new infections in this latest outbreak.

Of those 50 cases, 26 were infectious in the community prior to their diagnosis, 11 were in the community for part of the time they were infectious and 13 were in isolation.

It’s the highest number of daily infections since April last year and brings the state’s total number of cases to 489.

Forty-seven NSW Covid-19 patients are in hospital and 16 are in intensive care – among them a teenager, someone in their 20s and someone in their 30s.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the number of cases who were infectious in the community was concerning.

“When you know that there are 26 cases infectious in the community, the only conclusion we can draw is that things are going to get worse before they get better,” she said.

“… one person who has been infectious in the community is likely to infect those closest to them. Just work it out. You go home, you give it your parents, your siblings, you keep going to work, you give it to your work colleague, and they take it home and give it their parents and their siblings.

“I think it is pretty clear that unless we reduce that level of people in the community that are infectious, we won’t be able to turn things around as quickly as we can or as quickly as we should.

“One message I really want to get across to people who have been diagnosed with Covid, please tell us the truth the first time around,” Berejiklian said.

“When people withhold information, it means that their contacts are potentially infectious in the community. Eventually our health contact tracers get to the truth.

“Every time you consider breaking the rules, doing something wrong, you are affecting not just you, your closest family, your closest friends, but all of us who are subjected to the lockdown.

“I know that when all of us come together, we can make a difference, and we need to make that difference by also holding our friends and others accountable,” Berejiklian said.

NSW chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant said the majority of new cases were linked, but the source of more than a dozen new infectious was unknown.

The state yesterday recorded 44 new locally acquired infections – 29 of which were out and about in the community before they tested positive.

In response, Berejiklian introduced harsher lockdown restrictions around shopping, exercise and leaving the home.

Green flights to NZ on hold

Yesterday, NZ paused green flights that were due to open up from NSW in response to the state’s worsening outbreak.

Between 2000 and 2500 people were set to return on the cancelled flights.

“We won’t be resuming green flights from [NSW] until we’re confident that the risk there is contained,” Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.

The Government would look to resume the flights from NSW as soon as it could, but people on them would have to spend 14 days in MIQ, Hipkins said.

The earliest the flights would resume would be in three days’ time, Hipkins said.

Up to 1000 MIQ places would be set aside for NSW returnees. They would not be charged for their MIQ stays.

No new cases in Queensland

Queensland has reported no new local Covid-19 cases for the second day in a row.

Almost 9000 people remain in isolation in the state after they were deemed close contacts of previous cases.

Mandatory mask-wearing and restrictions are in place for parts of Queensland for another week, with the state’s Covid check-in map made compulsory for businesses.

New Zealand’s travel bubble with the state is on pause.

'Politics over science' – expert

Earlier, a leading health expert said Sydney wouldn’t be getting out of lockdown any time soon, amid reports that NSW Government ministers were preparing the state for a winter of Covid.

Speaking on ABC Breakfast, strategic health policy consultant and University of NSW adjunct professor Bill Bowtell said the state’s leaders needed to “get real”, as the current lockdown restrictions didn’t go far enough.

Professor Bowtell said the state’s numbers were “pretty avoidable”, but “every step of the way politics got over the science”.

“We got into this problem because there is too much politics. Too much influence by big business,” he said.

“But what’s going to get us out of it is following the science.”

The Australian newspaper reported this morning that NSW’s Government is preparing for lockdown to potentially last into August, with some now calling on Premier Berejiklian to announce longer stay-at-home orders rather than going week-by-week.

It comes as Dr Chant confirmed on Friday there were now 14,000 close contacts across the state, doubling from the 7000 close contacts listed on Thursday.

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