Despite promising vaccine rates edging NSW closer to significant freedoms, Sydney areas outside of the 12 LGAs of concern are being warned they could be facing even tougher restriction if cases continue to rise.
Medical research organisation the Burnet Institute, used by the NSW government for Covid projections, has released new modelling on the impact of stringent lockdowns in western Sydney which it says have finally begun to suppress Covid transmission.
And it warned other areas of Sydney could face similar restrictions such as a curfew and limited exercise if cases continued to rise.
In recent days NSW Health has continued to warn of rising cases in the Inner West and City of Sydney LGAs, particularly in Marrickville, Glebe, Camperdown, Waterloo and Redfern.
The two LGAs have a combined population of about 450,000.
"Other LGAs with rising case numbers should not rely solely on vaccination to cut case numbers in the short to medium term," the Burnet Institute said.
"They may need to tighten restrictions to get outbreaks under control."
Such a warning contrasts to the sense of optimism around Sydney as the state edges towards 70 per cent of the eligible adult population double vaccinated which in turn will see a raft of changes to the current restrictions.
With transmission slowly creeping east, there are warning signs on the table for beachside LGAs which came under the spotlight over the weekend as thousands gathered outside, many appearing to ignore key elements of the Public Health Order.
Vaccine coverage not enough to ease restrictions at this stage
The Burnet Institute said increased vaccine coverage in the LGAs of concern was not the main driver behind a drop in cases but in fact was the restrictions in place.
It said such restrictions prevented 4000 cases a day in those LGAs by the end of September.
Amid calls for an easing of restrictions for the LGAs of concern, which have faced its toughest restrictions since August 23, the Burnet Institute says reversing restrictions as this stage could be devastating.
"The gains associated with the more stringent restrictions are readily reversible," it said.
"If they are lifted before vaccination can permanently reduce growth, COVID-19 cases could rapidly increase again in these 12 LGAs."
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