Hundreds of cars have been filmed queuing at a Sydney coronavirus testing centre just hours after the NSW premier revealed the state is facing the most critical stage of the pandemic.
The footage, which was recorded in Bondi and posted to Twitter on Wednesday by comedian Dan Ilic, shows the long line of idling cars - just a portion of the more than 18,000 COVID tests being conducted in NSW every 24 hours.
Other social media users said the lines at drive-thru testing centres in Blacktown and Killara had been just as busy.
The long queues have plagued testing clinics since the COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney’s west earlier this month, as members of the public rushed to be tested.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said during a press conference on Wednesday that NSW is facing a critical next few weeks as it battles to trace outbreaks that officials say resemble the coronavirus strain seen in Victoria – which recorded more than 480 new cases in 24 hours.
“The next few weeks are the most critical in NSW since the lockdown earlier in March and April,” she said.
“This is the most critical time for our state.
“We are not out of the woods by any stretch, quite the opposite.”
Big COVID testing lines in Bondi today. pic.twitter.com/viqeNoodQj
— Dan Ilic 🧴👐 (@danilic) July 22, 2020
With another 16 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian urged residents to limit their activities, especially over the weekend, and to avoid crowds or small indoor gatherings where the deadly virus spreads easily.
“We have some level of anxiety regarding the extent of community transmission,” she said.
Ms Berejiklian said businesses are also on notice as a new suite of COVID measures come into place on Friday to ensure compliance with social distancing and other safety guidelines.
Previously-announced restrictions on pubs and hotels – including a cap of 300 people, mandatory sign-ins and maximum group bookings of 10 people – will also be extended to all NSW hospitality venues, such as clubs and restaurants.
The 20-person limit for private indoor and outdoor gatherings remains in place for now but NSW Health has encouraged residents to keep gatherings below 10 people.
The premier noted the guidelines were previously not compulsory, but a lack of compliance made the government change its tune.
"Any business which doesn't do the right thing will have the book thrown at them," she said.
"There is so much at stake and so much on the line."
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