No relief in sight as Sydney lockdown enters week three

New South Wales is bracing for yet another record-setting daily COVID-19 figure today as Greater Sydney wakes to its third week of COVID-19 lockdown.
There are growing fears that Sydney and the surrounding regions are now sitting down the barrel of a lengthy shutdown similar to that seen in Victoria last year, with one of Australia’s leading epidemiologists yesterday suggesting lockdown orders were likely to be needed beyond August.
Police patrol the streets of Cabramatta in south-west Sydney, which is becoming the new epicentre of the current outbreak. (Nine)
Data analysis conducted by 9news.com.au has revealed just how much more the current COVID-19 outbreak has spread compared to the previous Northern Beaches one, which placed half of the peninsula under strict stay-at-home orders for three weeks over the Christmas period.

It was more grim news yesterday as the state recorded 50 new local cases – the highest daily figure in 15 months, superseding the two previous days’ record-setting figures.

Of those 50, just 13 were isolated throughout.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian cautioned that “things are going to get worse before they get better”.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is expected to announce a lockdown extension today for Sydney.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday warned that with so many positive cases still active in the community, things would continue to get worse. (Louise Kennerley)
It’s a warning that is becoming eerily familiar, as the highly infectious Delta variant appears to be getting on top of contact traces with the number of unlinked cases continuing to mount.

As well as additional restrictions around exercise and essential shopping introduced on Friday, requirements around mask wearing and restrictions on entering Greater Sydney are also being tightened.

From Tuesday July 13, masks will be compulsory inside residential buildings in all common property areas, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced yesterday.

This means those living in apartment blocks will need to put on a mask before entering lifts, lobbies and communal washing facilities.

Moreover, the reasons for entering Greater Sydney have been tightened.

Coming into the region for the purposes of exercise or outdoor recreation is no longer a valid excuse.

From today, people from outside Greater Sydney will only be able to enter for a funeral, memorial service or gathering afterwards if there are no more than 10 people in attendance.

Testing staff members carrying out COVID-19 swabs at the Fairfield Showgrounds clinic. (Kate Geraghty/Sydney Morning Herald)

Other states are also looking to their borders, with Victoria yesterday issuing a final warning to its residents currently in regional New South Wales to return home.

Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar told NSW travellers they “should have left already”, warning that a hard border with the whole of the state was likely “in the coming hours or days”.

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