NSW to enter statewide lockdown after record Covid-19 cases

·4-min read
  • All of NSW will enter lockdown from 5pm today

  • The state reported 466 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths

  • Short notice slammed online

Strict lockdown restrictions will be extended to all of NSW in a bid to contain the vicious spread of the highly infectious Delta variant. 

NSW residents who were not already under lockdown were given less than three hours to prepare themselves for at least a week of stay-at-home restrictions.

It follows another record day of Covid-19 infections, with daily infections surging to 466 - the worst day since the pandemic began. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addresses media during a press conference in Sydney, Saturday, August 14, 2021. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts) NO ARCHIVING
NSW reported another record day of Covid-19 cases on Saturday, with daily infections surging to 466. Source: AAP

Deputy Premier John Barilaro announced the new measures on social media, saying they were designed to "minimise movement and protect our communities from the evolving COVID situation in Sydney".

The stay-at-home orders were confirmed shortly after by NSW Health, following updated advice from NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant.

"This means the whole of New South Wales will be under stay at home restrictions from 5pm today. This new order will replace any existing orders in regional NSW," the statement said. 

"Everyone must stay at home unless they have a reasonable excuse to leave. They also cannot have visitors in their home from outside their household, including family and friend,"

The restrictions will remain in force until 12.01am next Sunday. 

There will be a one-day ‘grace period’ for planned weddings and funerals in the regional areas that have not already been under lockdown. Those events may go ahead until Monday 16 but only with guests who weren't already subject to stay-at-home orders. 

Short notice slammed on social media 

The late-afternoon announcement has come under fire from regional NSW, with residents taking to social media to express their fury at the "poor communication." 

Residents in regional areas were given less than three hours to prepare for the lockdown and the state government did not relay the information to the public via a televised press conference.

"As someone with many family members in regional NSW I find it appalling a statewide lockdown is announced on Twitter. Yes let’s protect them but also show some respect - I’m sure there was time in today’s 45 min presser for a mention!" Channel Nine reporter Sarah Stewart wrote on Twitter.

Another said: "The disrespect shown to people in rural and regional NSW with such poor communication is gobsmacking. Just leaving it to the Nats to share on social media and then hopefully check a news site? So stupid.

"Pretty s*** thing to do, to be at a press conference, then a few hours later lock down a state via social media. Why is she afraid of taking questions?" commented another Twitter user. 

Facing backlash over the announcement after the press conference, Ms Berejiklian confirmed on Twitter she received the update advice after the 11am health briefing. 

Shadow Health Minister Ryan Park said the people of NSW deserve better than "silly politics".

"Well we are meant to be all in this together but the NSW Govt has strangely decided to tell only some MPs about a statewide lockdown!" he posted. 

"This is not the way to communicate in a pandemic! C’mon Premier the people of NSW deserve better than that. Let’s not play silly politics!"

Virus runs rampant in regions

The virus is rapidly spreading across the state with 26 new cases recorded in Western NSW and 13 in the Hunter New England area overnight.

Earlier today, Premier Gladys Berejiklian foreshadowed further restrictions for these areas as she announced Armidale would remain in lockdown for another seven days.

"Western NSW, Dubbo and the surrounding communities have seen 26 cases overnight and it is likely the health advice will ask us to extend the local government areas in lockdown," Ms Berejiklian said.

Ms Berejiklian said it was the "most concerning day" of the pandemic yet.

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