NSW, VIC set for 'comprehensive shutdown' amid coronavirus surge

Brooke Rolfe
News Reporter

Victoria and NSW are set to begin a “comprehensive shutdown” to halt all non-essential services in a drastic effort to curb the coronavirus outbreak amid a surge in cases.

In a statement released on Sunday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced she would inform the National Cabinet that NSW would be rolling out the shutdown over the next 48 hours.

“Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery will be among the many services that will remain open,” the statement read.

Addressing growing pressure to close schools, Ms Berejiklian said they would stay open and operate as usual on Monday, but more details on the matter could be expected within hours.

“I will update NSW [Monday] morning about the impacts and our plans following the National Cabinet.”

Empty tables at Sydney's famous Opera Bar as the state prepared to enforce a comprehensive shutdown. Source: Getty Images

What will stay open?

  • Supermarkets

  • Petrol stations

  • Pharmacies

  • Convenience stores

  • Freight and logistics

  • Home delivery

  • Banks

The announcement came after NSW Health confirmed 97 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the state's tally to 533. 

Of those 533 cases, 46 have been contracted locally without an identified source of infection.

Shortly after the NSW announcement, Victoria also declared it would be shutting down all non-essential activity across the state to combat the spread of coronavirus. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said school holidays will be brought forward to start on Tuesday.

The step comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Victoria has risen to 296, after 67 people were confirmed as being infected on Saturday.

"This is not something that we do lightly, but it's clear that if we don't take this step, more Victorians will contract coronavirus, our hospitals will be overwhelmed and more Victorians will die," Mr Andrews said in a statement.

"Victorians will still be able to go to the supermarket, the bank, the pharmacy and other essential stores, like petrol stations and convenience stores."

Historic border regulations implemented

It comes as South Australia implemented strict rules on Sunday requiring anyone that entered the state to undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation period.

Western Australia will also enforce historic measures to clamp down on cases of coronavirus by implementing the same border policies.

Empty outdoor cafes in the Sydney CBD as NSW rolls out a comprehensive shutdown. Source: Getty Images

Addressing media Sunday afternoon, Premier Mark McGowan told people to cancel their holidays to WA, with it to begin enforcing the border regulations within the next 48 hours.

Rottnest Island earmarked for quarantine camp

The border will close from 1.30pm Tuesday, with Rottnest Island being weighed up as a quarantine option to isolate those infected with COVID-19, Mr McGowan announced.

Mr McGowan said entry to WA would be restricted via road, rail, air and sea with exemptions for essential services and trucking.

“These are extreme steps but these are extreme days,” he told reporters on Sunday, as 30 new cases were confirmed overnight, bringing the state's total to 120.

“We’re working up a plan as we speak. It’s to ensure people who can’t or won’t quarantine, have somewhere they can access the right support and care,” he said.

“I’m not ruling anything out.”

The matter of schools closing in Western Australia was on the table for discussion with the National Cabinet on Sunday evening Mr McGowan said.

The state government is also looking into acquiring hotels or exisiting camps for infected people to be isolated from the general community.

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