The mayor of a Sydney local government area subjected to heightened Covid-19 testing requirements has lambasted the state government for the "chaos and panic" his residents have been subjected to.
On Tuesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced workers entering or leaving Fairfield LGA in the city's west must carry proof they've had a Covid test in the past three days.
The decision comes as Covid cases continue to arise in the area, while there were 89 locally acquired cases in the state overall, a drop from the 112 announced on Monday.
The move quickly brought long lines of vehicles at testing sites in the area as health authorities struggled to cope with the surge in those seeking a test throughout Tuesday night.
Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone hit out at Ms Berejiklian for what he believed as a poorly-devised move.
"Our testing clinics are in chaos and panic tonight and this cannot go on for days without the proper resources," he wrote on Facebook while sharing video of lengthy queues of vehicles stretching through several streets.
Social media was filled with further videos of suburban streets in gridlock. Nine News reporter James Wilson shared footage showing a queue of vehicles that appeared to be over a kilometre long. He called the situation a "nightmare".
And the queues continued throughout the night as residents waited into the early hours of the morning to comply with the order.
Mr Carbone feared the sharp increase in those forced to take a test meant those with symptoms were being blocked from vital testing.
This is the queue just to get into the Fairfield Showground. Madness. You can see why people are upset by the new health orders for essential workers. Doing this every three days would be a nightmare. @9NewsSyd #9News pic.twitter.com/btJfBzLcJR
— James Wilson (@WesternWilson9) July 13, 2021
"I have been notified that some residents that are genuinely sick have left the lines after one and half hours and returned home," he said.
Speaking to ABC Radio on Wednesday morning, Mr Carbone predicted waiting times were up to eight hours – something he says essential workers simply cannot afford.
"I am disappointed... everyone's doing the right thing, everyone's trying to help. Fairfield residents are proud, they will do their bit but your need to provide the resources," he said, calling for further testing sites in the area to cope with the influx of people needing to get tested.
"The government needs to step up and find a solution."
The ABC on Wednesday morning reported those in line had waited for six to eight hours to get tested.
Mr Carbone said a lack of consultation prior to the move showed "disrespect" to his area's people.
The state government had initially said all workers must be tested by Wednesday however later revised the deadline to Saturday.
Government 'lost respect', mayor says
Southwest Sydney was subjected to a heightened police presence last week as the government moved to crack down on those flouting lockdown restrictions. However the move prompted accusations of discrimination, with critics of the decision suggesting similar tactics weren't enforced in the city's east when the outbreak emerged.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Carbone shared a photo of a workout station at Bondi Beach overflowing with people working out.
"And they wonder why people have lost respect," he said.
Mr Carbone said Fairfield was now "bearing the brunt of the virus" as a result of a "monumental stuff up in letting the virus free in the community for over four weeks".
Ms Berejiklian has come under pressure for her reluctance to enforce sharp, stringent lockdowns as soon as the virus emerged in the community, a tactic successfully used in other states.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard pleaded with residents in Fairfield to carefully consider whether leaving the LGA was essential.
"Even if you consider your work is essential, rethink that," he said.
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