NSW govt ignored health advice: opposition

·3-min read

The NSW government has been accused of contradicting public health advice throughout the state's Delta outbreak, despite publicly promising to follow it.

Emails released on Monday after they were sought by a parliamentary committee appear to show the NSW government implemented COVID-19 restrictions late - weeks after they were recommended in some cases - and selectively applied them to certain areas despite advice to be "consistent".

One of the messages, sent from chief health officer Kerry Chant on July 29, recommends a curfew for lockdown areas be considered "for the messaging effect".

The restriction was introduced some 25 days later, but only for 12 local government areas "of concern" in Sydney's west and southwest.

The email also recommended outdoor mask-wearing be mandated - a restriction which was also introduced on August 23 - almost a month later.

In another email from August 14, Dr Chant recommends the government "implement consistent measures across greater metropolitan Sydney with outdoor masks, consistent 5km rule and authorised workers only".

That day, the government banned Greater Sydney residents from travelling more than five kilometres or outside their LGA border, whichever was bigger.

Tighter restrictions were applied to those inside the LGAs of concern, who were barred from travelling more than 5km from their homes.

Several other restrictions not mentioned in the emails were also applied only to LGAs of concern. It is unclear if those actions were supported by the chief health officer.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns says the harsher restrictions placed on the west and southwest created two Sydneys, a divide that is still being felt six weeks after lockdown lifted.

"They told us in unambiguous terms that they were suffering, they felt ostracised. It was affecting their communities. It was affecting their economy and their livelihoods," he told reporters.

"Those communities and families are still suffering.

"(This) information proves what we all suspected. We were not all in this together."

It is particularly galling given then-premier Gladys Berejiklian frequently reassured the public she was following the health advice, he said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard has been contacted for comment.

NSW on Monday reported another 180 new cases of COVID-19, with an unvaccinated Sydney woman in her 50s the latest person to die from the virus across the state.

NSW Health says the woman from southwestern Sydney died at Campbelltown Hospital in the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm on Sunday.

There are 202 people with the virus in hospital, 30 of them in ICU and 15 ventilated.

Nearly 95 per cent of adults have had their first vaccine jab while 91.8 per cent of people 16 and older have had two doses.

Some 75.4 per cent of children aged 12 to 15 have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 81 per cent of that age group have had their first jab.

Meanwhile, an alliance of health, human rights and fair-trade organisations have protested outside the Pfizer Australia office in Sydney.

The protesters are asking the pharmaceuticals maker to share their vaccine knowledge and to stop lobbying against changes to intellectual property rules that would allow low and lower-middle income countries to ramp up production of vaccines and treatments.

Pfizer recently announced revenue forecasts of $US36 billion ($A50 billion) from COVID-19 vaccine sales this year.

Advocates around the world are calling for action ahead of a WTO ministerial meeting on November 29, where a temporary waiver on vaccine monopolies will be decided.

In July, a task force led by the WHO, the WTO, World Bank and International Monetary Fund set a clear target to vaccinate 40 per cent of people in every low and lower-middle income country by the end of the year.

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