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The NSW Government has introduced tighter restrictions in a number of local government areas to slow the transmission of coronavirus.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced new measures from Monday as she advised the state had recorded a further 644 cases of community-transmitted Covid-19, and extended Sydney's lockdown until the end of September.
A curfew will be introduced for 12 LGAs
Masks will be required outside throughout NSW
School exams, except the HSC, will move online
Exercise permitted for one hour a day in 12 LGAs
“We have taken the advice of our health and police who have worked together, presenting these to us yesterday (and) we will be implementing curfews into those local government areas of concern,” the premier said.
“From 9pm to 5am you cannot leave your home unless it is for authorised work or emergencies.
"Police will be stopping anybody leaving their home from 9pm to 5am and this is based on police information about the type of activity carried out by a small number of people.
“Delta does not leave any room for error and I apologise to the vast majority of people in those communities doing the right thing but for our health and safety moving forward we need to make these difficult decisions.”
Sydney LGAs of concern with curfew
New NSW rules on masks and exercise
The premier also said masks will be required for people walking outside in Greater Sydney, unless they are exercising. She cited the concern people passing each other in public might be transmitting coronavirus to each other.
Outdoor exercise will only be permitted for one hour a day in LGAs of concern. Childcare workers and disability support workers in those 12 LGAs will have to be fully vaccinated by August 30.
All exams and learning, aside from the HSC, will move to online.
The new restrictions will begin on Monday from midnight.
Click and collect will be expanded for people buying non-essential items too including from stores such as garden centres and nurseries.
“It is time for all of us to bunker down and take this as seriously as we can,” Ms Berejiklian said.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller will be given expanded powers including being able to lock down apartment buildings should there be a Covid risk.
Comm Fuller told reporters nearly 500 tickets were issued in the past 24 hours to people leaving their homes without a reasonable excuse. There were 800 tickets in total.
“This is why, suddenly one of the reasons, the police minister and I have asked for additional powers including the curfew," he said.
NSW Premier grilled at press conference
Ms Berejiklian, who has faced ongoing criticism about her government's handling of the pandemic, was grilled on Friday about the response given it has taken more than eight weeks to introduce a curfew.
"Why has it taken eight weeks of lockdown for you to throw everything at this?" one reporter asked.
Ms Berejiklian responded that the government "obviously" makes decisions based on the circumstances.
"The people of NSW get that," she said.
"This week when we saw a sudden surge of numbers, in addition to feedback from police about compliance, it was heartbreaking to hear that on consecutive days a couple of hundred people did not have a reasonable reason for being out of the house and evolving around the community.
"That is a concern.”
Another reporter asked if the premier was "being slick" in saying she always follows the health advice.
He compared the premier's decision not to go harder on restrictions to a doctor telling a patient to stop smoking or get cancer in a comparison Ms Berejiklian said did "not make sense".
"Delta is uncharted territory for Australia," she said.
"I reckon if you speak to a few other state leaders and first ministers today, they will tell you how difficult it is to keep the lid on it, even though you have thrown everything at it from day one, you have done everything you can, Delta is very different.
"And please know at every stage the NSW government has responded quickly to the advice we have, but we have also learned a lot."
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