‘It is critical’: Why NSW is on alert for the next 14 days

The next fortnight could be critical for NSW’s Covid cases after the state reported three new locally acquired cases on Sunday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters two more cases were close contacts of the Berala cluster in Sydney’s west while a third is a close contact of someone from Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

“I also want to stress that again we remain on high alert, but New South Wales is doing well,” she said.

“But we are in a stage where we're mopping up. There are still remnants of the disease in the community. Obviously most people now that we're reporting on are already in isolation, but we can't be complacent.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is seen during a press conference in Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging people not to be complacent despite low cases of community transmission. Source: AAP

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant echoed the Premier’s plea and said it was essential the state maintained high rates of testing.

“We need to maintain those high rates of testing for at least 14 days and I would like to see them sustained beyond that, but for the next 14 days, it is critical that we mop up any unrecognised chains of transmission,” she said.

“Also we all can play a part in preventing Covid spread by really just adhering to those simple messages – maintaining that 1.5 [metres] social distancing, wearing the mask in the settings that is required, but most importantly, if you have the mildest of symptoms, get tested, stay isolated until you have a negative result.”

There were 23,763 tests conducted in NSW up until 8pm on Saturday.

Covid marshals for crowd safety outside the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Covid marshals rally to check crow safety at the cricket test between Australia and India at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday. Source: Getty Images

Alert for Costco shoppers, Big W

Dr Chant urged people to get tested after visiting a number of venues in Sydney’s south.

“It is critical that we are still identifying a few venues of concern and that means that we are asking everyone to still go to that New South Wales government website and keep yourself appraised of any new venues that are listed there,” she said.

New Sydney Covid venues

  • Casula Costco - January 2, 4.45pm-6.15pm

  • Myer Bankstown (ground floor) - Wednesday, 11.30am-12.40pm

  • Chemist Warehouse Campsie - Friday, 12pm-12.30pm

  • Big W at Campsie - January 3, 1.20pm-1.40pm

  • Campsie Medical and Dental Centre - Friday, 10.40am-11.30am

How much longer will the NSW mask rule last?

Ms Berejiklian was asked with low case numbers if the state would remove rules requiring people to wear masks when indoors at businesses.

The Premier explained the mask-wearing rule has allowed businesses to stay open whereas previously they may have had to close.

“So as the pandemic continues, we're learning more, we're adjusting our settings, but let me also be clear - I don't support having restrictions in place a day longer than we need to,” she said.

“And if the health advice says the risk is now mitigated and gone through a certain period without community transmission, no longer do we need to wear masks in those indoor settings, well, I'll be the first one to support that.

“It does depend on the health advice, but we're so grateful people have taken it up.”

A man wears sunglasses and a face mask in the suburb of Milson's Point in Sydney, Australia.
A man a face mask in the suburb of Milson's Point in Sydney. Source: Getty Images

When will the NSW-Victoria border open again?

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews flagged re-opening Victoria’s border with NSW last week.

“The border will be closed not one moment longer than it needs to be,” he told reporters.

It means the border could potentially re-open within days depending on health advice.

It’s a point Ms Berejiklian reiterated when asked on Sunday about the border.

“Closing a border can affect literally, tens and hundreds of thousands of people, depending on where it is, and that's a big call,” she said.

“And in New South Wales, our strategy is to try to minimise unnecessary stress on our citizens whilst obviously keeping the virus at bay. It's a difficult balance.

“But I just ask other state leaders to, please, talk to us before they close their border to New South Wales and give us a chance to demonstrate our capacity to get on top of the virus without adversely impacting our citizens.”

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