Sydney further tightens restrictions

Sydney, (Asian independent)¬†Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) on Friday announced to further tighten restrictions on Greater Sydney and surrounding areas as the state continues to witness a surge in daily Covid-19 cases.

NSW Health on Friday reported 44 new locally acquired cases, of which 19 were out in the community while infectious and seven cases remain under investigation, reports Xinhua news agency.

The total number of cases in the latest outbreak now stands at 439.

“I appreciate the message I’m delivering today is quite shocking for a lot of people,” said state Premier Gladys Berejiklian as she announced the new restrictions together with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

“But I need everybody to be shocked. Unless there is a dramatic change, unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the numbers, I can’t see how we would be in a position to ease restrictions by next Friday (July 16),” she said.

“NSW is facing the biggest challenge we have faced since the pandemic started. And I don’t say that lightly. I don’t say that lightly.”

Under the new restrictions, from 5 p.m. Friday, outdoor public gatherings are reduced to two people from separate household; exercise is restricted to within 10 km of one’s home; browsing in shops is prohibited; shopping for food or essential goods is restricted to only one person per household per day.

Funerals will be limited to 10 people from July 11.

Restrictions in regional NSW will remain unchanged.

To better enforce the restrictions, 100 police officers will be deployed to high-risk areas in Sydney’s South-West from 7 a.m. Friday.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said the police response will be elevated to protect the community from those who seek to flout the orders.

“The delta strain is a game changer, and police will be out in the community helping people to comply, but where they don’t get compliance they will be out enforcing the public health orders. Stay at home unless you absolutely need to leave.”

Metropolitan Field Operations Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon added that police will be targeting people who think the rules don’t apply to them.

“Those people are putting everyone’s lives at risk, including their own families.”