Night curfews, five kilometre travel limits and a shutdown of non-essential retail could be introduced in Sydney and surrounding regions as the latest Covid-19 outbreak worsens.
A host of new restrictions were announced as New South Wales recorded 77 new cases on Sunday with numbers predicted to hit triple figures on Monday.
There are growing calls from experts to ramp up restrictions similar to the draconian stage four lockdown in Melbourne a year ago which last for 112 days.
Professor Mark Stoove, an epidemiologist from the government-funded Burnet Institute, doesn’t believe the current lockdown measures in Sydney are sufficient and called for a ‘necessary’ tightening of rules.
He also warned of a prolonged lockdown for Sydney as case numbers during Melbourne’s second wave did not start to fall until more than 14 days after tougher restrictions were introduced.
There are growing calls for night curfews to be enforced as part of Sydney’s lockdown. Pictured is a deserted Circular Quay
‘If you look at Victoria’s stage four lockdown, there were five-kilometre limits on movement, all major retail was closed and we had curfews at night,’ Professor Stoove told Sunrise on Monday.
‘As much limiting of movement as possible is necessary.’
In Melbourne, non-essential businesses were closed, an 8pm curfew enforced and a ring of steel was placed around city with residents only allowed to leave their homes and exercise within a 5km radius.
‘We saw a dip in the curve about 14 days after masks were introduced, and then a dip again about 14 days after the stage four lockdowns, so it will be a little while yet before the impact of the top restrictions come in,’ Prof. Stoove said.
Another Epidemiologist Tony Blakely agreed the current restrictions in Sydney are not tough enough and advocated having soldiers patrolling the streets to enforce restrictions.
A five kilometre travel limit could be enforced on Sydneysiders as the outbreak worsens. Pictured is Sydney’s CBD on Saturday
Dr Blakely said the NSW government had three options: let the Covid-19 outbreak circulate in the community to build herd immunity, continue with a partial lockdown and let the health system deal with infections, or deploy troops and police to patrol the streets.
‘The third option is the only one. It’s very hard to say those words: ‘We’re going into a hard lockdown, we’ve called in the military, the police and we are going to police it,’ he told news.com.au .
‘It’s not a pretty look but if you want it to be over and done with as quickly as possible that, most unfortunately, is what needs to happen.’
Dr Blakely warned continuing with a partial lockdown meant Sydney might only begin to reopen in September.
‘If they keep going the way they are now, without really stepping it up now it could go on for months,’ he said.
Experts have called for a shutdown of non-essential retail stores such as Myer in Sydney
There are calls for Sydney to enforce a stricter lockdown similar to the one in Melbourne last year were all non-essential retailers were shutdown. Pictured is a deserted Pitt Street Mall in Sydney
New face mask rules and travel restrictions have been introduced in Greater Sydney with a draconian-style lockdown and troops on the street possibly on the way, a top epidemiologist has warned
Residents will only be able to travel to Greater Sydney to access goods and services that are not available in their area
Stricter face mask rules and travel restrictions were announced by NSW Health minister Brad Hazzard on Sunday.
Residents will have to wear masks in more places – including their own apartment buildings – and everyone outside Sydney banned from coming in.
Under the new restrictions coming into effect this week, residents are only be able to travel to Sydney to access goods and services that are not available in their area.
Travelling into the area for exercise or outdoor recreational activities is no longer a valid reason.
They are also only be allowed to travel to attend a funeral or memorial service as long as there are no more than 10 mourners.
Sydney residents wanting to leave their area must also carry identification that contains their residential address.
Face masks must also be worn at indoor construction sites at all times.
On Tuesday, the restriction will be extended to all indoor common property areas of residential premises in Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour.
Residents who live in apartments will be required to wear the extra protection when taking the lift or waiting in the lobby.
The draconian-style lockdown would be similar to the one introduced in Victoria last year – which lasted 111 days (pictured, a deserted Melbourne laneway during the lockdown in September)
Non-essential businesses were closed, an 8pm curfew enforced and a ring of steel placed around Melbourne with residents only allowed to leave their homes and exercise within a five kilometre radius (pictured, an empty Flinders Street during the draconian lockdown in September)
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (pictured) announced new social distancing restrictions for Greater Sydney residents on Friday
The additional face mask and travel restrictions were introduced by NSW Health after it announced it would be tightening lockdown across Sydney from 5pm Friday.
Exercising outdoors must be limited to groups of two and people must stay within 10km of their homes when exercising.
Can you still exercise outdoors?
Yes, but in reduced groups. Locked down residents from Friday evening will only be allowed to exercise outdoors in groups of two – down from the 10 previously allowed.
The only exception to this rule is members of the same household already living together can exercise outdoors together.
How far can you travel to exercise?
Additionally locals can only travel within their own local government area or at most 10km of their homes to exercise.
‘Please do not leave your house. Do not leave your home, unless you absolutely have to,’ Ms Berejiklian pleaded with Sydneysiders.
What about leaving the house for essential items?
Locals should only leave their house for essential supplies and should not browse, the premier said.
Only one member of a household should be traveling to the shops for essential items and this should not be an excuse to socialise.
Can you visit a partner in another household?
This is still allowed under the new restrictions provided you are in a relationship.
Is carpooling allowed?
Carpooling with other households – whether to the shops, to exercise or work – is also not allowed from 5pm on Friday.
Centennial Park in Sydney was packed with crowds last Saturday morning (pictured)
Can you still travel to work?
Ms Berejiklian restated only people who need to travel for essential work should leave their house.
‘Too many people who have continued to go to work, too many people have either misunderstood the rules or not followed them. And that has to stop.’
Is there a curfew?
No. You can leave your house at any hour as long as it is for one of the essential reasons.
What about funerals and weddings?
Health officials have also made the decision to cap funerals at 10 attendees from Sunday.
Weddings were already prevented from going ahead early on in the lockdown.
Exercising is still allowed in groups of two from 5pm Friday in Greater Sydney and surrounds
Only one member of a household is allowed to go to the shops for essential items on each trip
How many people can you have at your house?
Only those providing essential care are allowed to visit another household. This includes caring for elderly family members.
In other cases guests are not allowed to visit other households unless in exceptional circumstances.
‘We are still getting questions through Service NSW about how many people you can have into your home. The answer is zero.’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘I don’t mean these words lightly, or say these words lightly. But we are facing the greatest threat that we have faced in New South Wales and the pandemic started. And it is up to all of us to turn things around’.
Shoppers are pictured in Cabramatta in Sydney’s south-west. Only one member of each household will be allowed to go out to shop for essential items from Friday evening
Ms Berejiklian added with the rate of vaccination hovering around 9 per cent, allowing the virus to spread in the community was not an option.
‘Unless there is a dramatic change, unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the numbers, I can’t see how we would be in a position to ease restrictions by next Friday.’
Of the 44 new local cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, at least 29 were in the community for part or all of their infectious period.
It is the highest number of NSW daily infections since the pandemic’s first wave in early 2020.
Additional police have been dispatched to some areas from Friday including south-western Sydney (pictured: police at Bondi Beach last weekend)
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT NEW RESTRICTIONS:
THE UPDATED RESTRICTIONS IN GREATER SYDNEY, BLUE MOUNTAINS, CENTRAL COAST, WOLLONGONG AND SHELLHARBOUR:
– Outdoor public gatherings limited to two people (excluding members of the same household)
– People must exercise within 10km of their home
– No carpooling with members of other households
– Browsing at shops is prohibited, and only one person per household per day may leave the home for shopping
– Funerals limited to 10 people from July 11.
THE FOUR REASONS TO LEAVE HOME UNDER LOCKDOWN:
– Shopping for food or other essential goods and services (one person per household per day)
– Medical care or compassionate needs (only one visitor can enter another residence in circumstances of compassionate needs)
– Exercise with no more than one other person (unless members of the same household)
– Essential work or education where you cannot work or study from home.
New South Wales health minister Brad Hazzard announced on Saturday a raft of additional restrictions would be immediately introduced.
– Residents are only be able to travel to Greater Sydney to access goods and services that are not available in their area.
– Travelling into the area for exercise or outdoor recreational activities is no longer a valid excuse.
– They are also only be allowed to travel to attend a funeral or memorial service as long as there are no more than 10 mourners.
– Greater Sydney residents wanting to leave the area must also carry identification that contains their residential address.
– Face masks must also be worn at indoor construction sites at all times.
– On Tuesday, the restriction will be extended to all indoor common property areas of residential premises in Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour.
– Residents who live in apartments will be required to wear the extra protection when taking the lift or waiting in the lobby.
Source: Daily Mail UK