New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that Sydneysiders will remain in lockdown for “at least another two weeks”. Berejiklian and Kerry Chant, NSW chief health officer, gave an update on the state on Wednesday morning, highlighting a further 97 cases – 24 infectious in the community – and the extension of the lockdown.
“To 8pm last night, New South Wales recorded 97 cases of community transmission. Fortunately, 24 of those were infectious in the community,” she said. “That 24 number is what we need to get down to zero before we can end the lockdown.
“It always hurts to say this but we need to extend the lockdown for at least another two weeks. We will assess the situation at the end of those two weeks and provide information beyond that.”
The extension will see the Greater Sydney Region remain in lockdown until July 30, however, there are no guarantees it will end if cases stay high.
Berejiklian thanked the 65,000 people who turned out to be tested in the past 24 hours, but said the number needs to stay consistently high in order for the state to gain confidence that they had control over the spread.
Berejiklian had been warning for several days that the lockdown was likely to be extended, but resisted confirming Sydney’s lockdown would continue on Tuesday. The state recorded 89 new local cases on Tuesday, following 112 new local infections on Monday and 77 on Sunday. Twenty-seven of the cases on Tuesday were active in the community for all or part of their infectious period. “The numbers speak for themselves and we’ll have more to say about that tomorrow,” she told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
Before this week, the state’s previous highest daily count for locally acquired cases was 72 on April 1, 2020, NSW Health data shows.
While Berejiklian resisted confirming the extension on Tuesday, it was all but confirmed when the state and the federal government announced a financial support package for those in lockdown in the state that’s expected to last at least several weeks. The state announced a $4.1 billion business support package and either cut or deferred payroll taxes for most companies. Workers who have lost eight or more hours a week as a result of the lockdown will be able to apply for up to $600 a week in federal support.
Victoria has also reported 7 new positive cases from 2 separate chains of transmission overnight.