'Out of control': NSW Deputy Premier’s lockdown warning

·Assistant News Editor
·3-min read

More local government areas in NSW could face tougher Covid restrictions as the state's coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen.

NSW's Deputy Premier John Barilaro has said authorities have not discussed a curfew but said stricter rules could be required to stop the spread of the Delta variant. 

Speaking to Sky News on Monday night, Mr Barilaro said the situation in NSW was "out of control" and admitted the lockdown won't be lifted this weekend.

"We may have to go tighter in some local government areas, we accept that," he said.

"It just means making sure there's less movement for people that are going into homes, into construction sites, retail, so you know the things you would normally think we'd get on top of.

"I don't believe we'll get to the stage of what happened in Victoria with curfews," he added.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro speaking to the media. Source: Getty
Deputy Premier John Barilaro has conceded the lockdown will lasts for weeks more yet. Source: Getty

Currently people in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour are under strict lockdown rules and are only allowed to leave home for five essential reasons. 

But with retail stores and businesses open, and a seemingly casual approach taken by some Sydney-siders, the NSW lockdown has been criticised for not being sufficient or effective enough. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and health authorities have repeatedly asked people to respect the rules in recent days with nearly 400 Covid infringement notices dished out since Friday. 

She said it was "highly unlikely" lockdown would end as planned on Friday, but would provide an update either today or Thursday at the latest. 

In a separate interview with the Nine Network on Tuesday, Mr Barilaro warned NSW "hasn't hit the peak" of daily new cases after recording 112 local cases on Monday.

"My sense is we'll see similar numbers to yesterday ... maybe a tad higher."

On Tuesday, the state officially tallied 89 new locally acquired cases

As five million people in Greater Sydney endure a third week of lockdown he said the situation would likely stretch out for weeks.

"[I'm] not sure about longer than six weeks," he said. 

"It's the roller-coaster ride we're on."

Outbreak seeps into rural NSW 

The outbreak has spread to the regions in NSW with a case reported in Goulburn on Tuesday morning. 

According to the ABC, the person was an essential worker who travelled from southern Sydney to Goulburn to work on the construction of the new Goulburn Hospital. They are believed to be a painter.

Goulburn Mayor Bob Kirk fears essential work permits may be putting regional towns at risk.

"The Covid disease doesn't ask people if they have a travel exemption or not, it just attaches to whoever it can," he said on Tuesday.

"But I understand he is a painter ... I don't know how that qualifies as essential right now.

"I know there are more than a few painters around this place that could step up if needed."

With authorities yet to get on top of the Delta strain, a boost to financial support is set to be announced. 

A joint NSW and federal government relief package to help people and businesses suffering financial hardship after three weeks of little or no income will be announced later today after being leaked to the media.

The federal government Covid disaster weekly payments will reportedly rise to $600 a week, up from $500, for those who have lost 20 hours of work or more.

with AAP

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