The NSW government is expected to confirm a coronavirus lockdown imposed on millions of people in five regions will be extended by a week, as the state continues to record more than a dozen new cases every day.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian spent most of Tuesday locked in discussions with health experts to decide on “what next week looks like”, ahead of a crisis cabinet meeting.
It’s believed the government decided to extend the two-week lockdown on Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Shellharbour, Blue Mountains and the Central Coast, due to end on Friday, by another week to 11.59 on July 16.
With the new school term due to begin next week, students in those five regions are likely to be mostly learning from home but the children of essential workers will be able to attend in person and students outside those regions should be able to go back to school.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says some NSW residents are eligible for the Commonwealth COVID-19 disaster payment but the government wasn’t considering any other financial support “at this stage”.
“There are two payments, the $500 and $325 payment, depending on the number of hours a week that have been lost for a person who has been subject to these lockdowns that have gone for longer than a week,” he told the Seven Network.
Police Minister David Elliott has acknowledged that many people are furious at the thought of the lockdown continuing but says the premier is determined it will be the last.
“She’s made it very very clear that this tough love at the moment will hopefully be the last lockdown … I think that that’s probably going to be small comfort but it will be a comfort,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.
He was scathing about people who ignored lockdown rules, saying police had had issued 75 fines and 99 cautions on Tuesday.
“Community anger should also be going to those people who are still doing the wrong thing,” he said.
NSW recorded 18 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, bringing the total number of people infected in the latest outbreak that began on June 16 to 330.
While it was a drop from 35 cases on the previous day, the number of people who were in the community while infectious is still alarming health experts.
That includes seven of the new cases announced on Tuesday involving the virulent Delta strain of COVID-19.
The lockdown decision will be announced at the premier’s regular 11am update on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, NSW Health says COVID-19 has been contracted by Commonwealth Bank customers at the Roselands branch in Sydney’s southwest, a site that had been previously flagged as a venue of concern.
Anyone who visited the branch at various times between June 28 and June 30 must get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.
More than a dozen other health alerts were issued on Tuesday night for venues, mostly in Sydney’s west, as well as train routes.
Harris Farm at Bondi Beach, St George bank at Riverwood, McDonald’s and Woolworths at Bonnyrigg and Big W at Menai are among the venues with details and advice available on the NSW Health website.