Push for harsher Covid restrictions amid disturbing rise in NSW cases

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Calls for a complete NSW lockdown have strengthened amid a disturbing handful of coronavirus cases leading up to New Year’s Eve.

While restrictions have tightened to stop thousands of Sydneysiders mingling and travelling to bring in the new year, doctors have called on NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to take a harder line.

It comes as a further 10 coronavirus cases were reported in NSW on Thursday, with authorities particularly concerned about the cluster in Croydon which continues to grow.

The situation has the potential to dramatically worsen without a strict lockdown being enforced, according to Australian Medical Association (WA) president Dr Andrew Miller.

“It wouldn't be going too far to put Sydney in lockdown at the moment until you have this under control,” Dr Miller told Nine’s Today program.

“Let's not forget there's all that retail happening which will have a flow-on effect in five days time. Christmas and New Year are well set up to be super spreader events.

Cars lined up for a covid test.
Doctors have called for a tougher lockdown to stamp out growing clusters. Source: AAP

“Anything we can do at this point, I think the community would understand, and it's not going to disrupt as many people in their employment at this time of the year if you say to them: ‘better that everyone stays home for a little while’”.

Call for tough Covid lockdown to stop second wave

ABC’s medical commentator Dr Norman Swan has also called on a tough lockdown for Sydney to help stamp out clusters health authorities might not know about yet.

“Effectively doing what Victoria did but doing it probably a bit earlier than Victoria did to prevent a serious second wave,” Dr Swan said.

“The worst that can happen here is that nothing happens but the risk here is that it's spreading through greater metropolitan Sydney and Greater Sydney and you don't know where it is and there are clusters that you may not have identified.”

Plea to avoid ‘the last day of 2020 being the worst day of 2020’

Sydney mayors have pleaded with the public to stay home tonight to avoid “the last day of 2020 being the worst day of 2020”.

“The great danger tonight is crowds coming to our harbour side parks to watch the fireworks which could result in a major outbreak of Covid-19 on the first day of 2021,” Inner West mayor Darcy Byrne told Today.

Mr Byrne reported some complacency in the Inner West surrounding New Year’s celebrations, pegging the blame on the state government not issuing “a clear message early enough”.

“Now we need to get the message across to everybody that this has become a very dangerous date. Please don't come to our harbour side parks tonight,” he said.

Make plans, instead, to celebrate safely at home or at a Covid-safe venue, he said.

Fireworks display over Sydney Harbour.
Sydneysiders have been urged to stay home tonight. Source: AAP

Mayor slams ‘inconsistencies’ in coronavirus restrictions

Meanwhile, Wollongong mayor Gordon Bradbery has called out some “inconsistencies” in the coronavirus NSW restrictions.

“You're getting mixed messages sometimes when you can have 20,000-odd people at a Test match and then you are told that you can only have five in your house or 30 at an outdoor gathering,” he told Today.

“There are some inconsistencies there. So I think that needs to be tidied up.”

Eighteen cases were recorded in NSW on Wednesday, nine of which were linked to the Avalon cluster on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Five cases were confirmed to be linked to a case mentioned in Tuesday’s press conference, but counted in Wednesday’s numbers, taking the ‘Croydon cluster’ in Sydney’s inner-west to six.

All of the six cases are from the same extended family across three households who gathered for several events over a number of days.

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