New lockdown rules 'not enough' to contain Delta outbreak

·4-min read

The president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) says Sydney's stay at home orders amid the recent Covid-19 outbreak are "not enough", and has labelled the new restrictions "confusing".

On Friday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced four local government areas in Sydney would essentially go into lockdown for seven days, starting at 11.59pm on Friday.

NSW recorded 22 new local Covid-19 cases on Friday.

Eleven cases were detected in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday night, six of which were already reported. There were 17 further infections after 8pm which will be recorded in Saturday's tally.

Soon after the lockdown announcement, the president of the AMA Dr Omar Khorshid spoke in Canberra and said the rules for those four local government areas — the City of Sydney, Woollahra, Waverley and Randwick – were not enough to contain the outbreak.

A person walks along the Opera House forecourt on June 24, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. A steady increase in Covid-19 cases in Sydney prompted the government to impose greater restrictions including a mandatory mask mandate indoors and limits on gatherings and movement. Several Sydney suburbs have been declared federal Covid-19 hotspots.
Seven local government areas in Sydney are heading into lockdown from 11.59pm on Friday. Source: Getty Images

He said he was concerned about the outbreak of the Delta strain in Sydney and acknowledged while the AMA was "pleased' action had been taken, it is the view of the AMA that it is 'not quite enough".

"What we really need are clear rules for all Sydneysiders that say 'stay at home' so we can get ahead of this virus and stop further transmission," Dr Khorshid said.

"The Delta virus is different, it is being transmitted far more easily and everyone has acknowledged that it is different.

"Sydney has not faced this before and it means a different approach is required, our concern with the current announcement is that it is confusing for many people in Sydney."

The lockdown applies for people who live or work in the four local government areas.

The new measures mean people are only allowed to leave their home unless they are going to work (if working from home is not an option), attending an education facility, exercise, healthcare, taking care of a relative, exercising and buying essential items.

The stay at home order impacts a long list of inner city suburbs.
The stay at home order impacts a long list of inner city suburbs.

"If you work in the CBD but live outside of it, we know if you contract the disease you are going to give it to your family," he said.

"This is happening with the Delta virus in Sydney right now. But the rules don't apply as far as we can see to family, there is also confusion as to who is in and who is out."

He explained the AMA is of the belief the same rules should apply to everyone, putting the entire Sydney basin under lockdown to allow the government to get ahead of the outbreak and avoid a prolonged lockdown.

"The economic consequences of lockdown are significant but the economic consequences of getting this wrong are catastrophic not just for Sydney but for all of Australia," Dr Khorshid said.

"And our belief is that we need everyone in Sydney to do the right thing and stay at home in order to stop this virus from taking a hold in Australia."

He added any other state or territory would have enforced a lockdown much sooner than Sydney did if faced with an outbreak on this scale. 

The NSW Government had previously held off declaring a lockdown, instead preferring to restrict the movements of residents, increase mask wearing and limit social and other gatherings.

Emergency Nurse, conducts a COVID-19 swab test at the Rushcutters Bay mobile covid testing clinic on June 25, 2021 in Sydney, Australia.
The president of the Australian Medical Association has called for all of Sydney to be put into lockdown. Source: Getty Images

"The reality is the Delta strain is different and we should have gone faster," Dr Khorshid said. 

"We need to look at the Melbourne outbreak. What happened in Melbourne is they tried last year to get ahead slowly and were not able to get ahead of it and it resulted in deaths and an extraordinarily amount of hardship for people.

"That must not be allowed to happen in Sydney."

Restrictions for other areas of Greater Sydney as well as the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour will be extended until midnight on Friday next week.

Those who live or work in the Inner West, Canada Bay or Bayside council areas, meanwhile, are still barred from leaving metropolitan Sydney.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting