Sydney reaches ‘critical’ lockdown phase

(Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

Sydneysiders have been warned they are at a critical point of lockdown, with authorities refusing to rule out an extension of stay-at-home orders after a surge of new infections as a cluster among aged care residents grows to five.

NSW recorded 35 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, two of which were aged care residents at a Sydney nursing home where three residents had already tested positive.

Meanwhile, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary Brett Holmes has told media outlets up to 600 nurses and healthcare staff at Sydney’s Royal North Shore and Fairfield hospitals are in isolation after a COVID positive student nurse worked at both hospitals.

RNS has reportedly closed five wards – renal, general medical, cardiology, neurology and surgical – to new admissions and visitors with all but emergency surgeries have been cancelled. 

“This is a difficult situation and probably the largest number of staff we’ve seen forced to isolate because of their close contact status in the workplace,” Mr Holmes told Nine newspapers.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant remains cautious about the  prospect of a 14-day lockdown for Greater Sydney and surrounding regions being extended beyond Friday.

“Every day brings a new set of data and a new set of challenges and what we think in the morning can change in the afternoon,” Dr Chant said on Monday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this second week was “critical” for getting on top of the outbreak, which has reached 312 people since emerging in Bondi in mid-June.

“The lockdown certainly has been effective in not doubling and tripling the figures that we were worried about,” she said on Monday.

Health authorities are still collating data and will soon advise the government on the way forward.

Elsewhere, NSW Health has issued fresh alerts for seven new venues, including a pharmacy at Belfield in Sydney’s southwest and the Adventist Hospital at Wahroonga in Sydney’s north.

And a stay-at-home order for people in NSW who had been in Brisbane and Moreton Bay, or who wish to enter NSW from those Queensland locations, has been lifted.

However, people who have been in Greater Sydney since June 21 must continue to follow the stay-at-home orders for 14 days.

Declarations are still required when people enter NSW after being in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Victoria.

People living and working in Queensland border areas who frequently enter NSW must now complete a declaration every 72 hours, instead of every 24 hours. The declaration confirms they have not attended a venue of concern as specified by Queensland Health.


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