New South Wales has avoided a COVID-19 lockdown as Gladys Berejiklian says authorities are ‘comfortable’ with current restrictions

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  • New South Wales avoided another lockdown on Thursday after health authorities revealed eleven new cases of COVID-19 in the community.
  • The state’s current restrictions are an “appropriate” response to the ongoing cluster, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
  • But Berejiklian urged adherence to current restrictions, saying “this is perhaps the scariest period that New South Wales is going through”.
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New South Wales avoided plunging into another lockdown on Thursday after Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state’s current restrictions are an “appropriate” response to Sydney’s ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

Fears of further restrictions mounted on Thursday morning after NSW Health revealed eleven new cases of the virus in the community.

Those cases were comprised of five which were announced Wednesday, but were counted too late to form a part of that day’s official figures; and six which were counted overnight, but were confirmed too late to form a part of today’s tally.

The new cases mean the so-called Bondi cluster has grown to 36 individual infections.

However, Berejiklian said further restrictions are not necessary, as “all but one” of the new cases have been linked to existing cases.

Health authorities are yet to determine how one of the newly revealed cases — a hairdresser from Western Sydney who works in Double Bay — contracted the virus, as he is not yet linked to any other confirmed case.

“We have not established the initial chain of transmission for the hairdresser,” said Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant. “But for all of the other cases we have, that is what we’re looking for, and that is what will be doing.”

The state is currently avoiding measures like a three-day lockdown as “we are not that situation where we are not getting to people in terms of the contact tracing,” Chant added.

“It is a very contagious variant, but at the same time, we are at this stage comfortable that the settings that are in place are the appropriate settings,” Berekilian added. “But that is so long as everybody does the right thing.

Berejiklian urged residents to adhere to the current restrictions, stressing that “this is perhaps the scariest period that New South Wales is going through.”

Under restrictions announced Wednesday, only five guests are permitted at the home, while face masks are mandatory in all indoors areas outside of the home, including private offices.

All venues, indoor and outdoor, must comply with the four-square-metre rule, and outdoor seated venues have had their capacity slashed by 50%.

In addition, anyone who lives or works in the local government areas of City of Sydney, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West, Randwick and Waverley Council, are banned from leaving the Greater Sydney area.

The cluster has now impacted NSW Parliament itself, with NSW Agriculture Minister Andrew Marshall testing positive for the virus. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has been deemed a close contact after spending time with Marshall, and has now entered isolation.

Berejiklian was noted as a possible close contact, and appeared before the media on Thursday only after testing negative to COVID-19.

NSW Parliament has shut its doors as a result of the cluster. Staffers have been advised to stay at home, while those in attendance on Thursday have undergone rapid testing.