NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has made a startling admission that it was a “mistake” to not lockdown Sydney earlier, as the state recorded a third consecutive day of case numbers in the 800s.
In an explosive interview on the Nine Network’s A Current Affair program, host Tracy Grimshaw grilled the state’s leader over her handling of the worsening Covid-19 situation, questioning whether it was the wrong call to delay implementing restrictions in early June.
Ms Berejiklian confessed she underestimated the highly-infectious Delta variant, saying she wished she had “2020 hindsight”.
“There is so much we could have done differently. So many things we did not understand that we understand now,” she said on Monday evening’s episode.
“Lots of mistakes have happened and will continue to happen.”
What life will be like living with Covid-19
The Premier went on to detail a “confronting” Covid future for NSW.
“We have to be confronted by the fact that we are going to see case numbers go up,” she said.
Comparing Covid-19 to the flu, Ms Berejiklian admitted more lives will be lost.
“Every year, we lose between 600 and 800 people in New South Wales alone because of the flu. They die because of the flu,” she explained.
“Unfortunately, as horrible as it is, we have to confront ourselves with the fact that that is what life will be like.
"In New South Wales, as horrible as it is, we have lost around 70 people in the last couple of months."
"We will lose a lot more," Grimshaw interrupted.
"Exactly," Ms Berejiklian said. "Seventy out of thousands of cases is a very low number, compared to what other states experienced last year because of no vaccine. I know this is confronting, I know it is hard, but it is the real world."
NSW can’t stay locked down forever
Ms Berejiklian foreshadowed a return to life “pretty much as we knew it”.
"We won't have real freedom unless we hit the 70 per cent double dose vaccination and in NSW we're likely to hit that at the end of October and then 80 per cent double dose vaccination which gives us life before the outbreak pretty much life as we knew it," she said.
— A Current Affair (@ACurrentAffair9) August 23, 2021
When quizzed about whether NSW will become a “pariah state”, she responded: “We accept that even though case numbers go up, the number of people getting sick will go down, because we have high rates of vaccination.”
The Premier stressed Australia must learn to live with the virus.
“We cannot be in lockdown forever, we can't live like hermits forever, we can't separate Australia and New Zealand from the rest of the world,” she said.
“No matter how much we want to protect our citizens, there is a contagious disease taking over the world, and we have to deal with it as best we can.”
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