New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that Greater Sydney will remain in lockdown for another four weeks. If all goes to plan, Sydneysiders and those in Wollongong, Shellharbour, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains will come out of lockdown on Saturday, August 28. Greater Sydney has already been locked down for six weeks.
“To the people of NSW, thank you for your patience, I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time,” the premier said.
“But that is the reality. We have to deal with the cards here before us and the situation before us and that is why we have taken the action we have.”
It comes as the state recorded 177 new local cases overnight. Berejiklian said 46 of these were infectious in the community while a further 22 cases were only in isolation for part of their infectious period.
Berejiklian continued: “46 infectious in the community and that is the key number we are looking at in the next few weeks. We want that number to come down to as close to zero looking at other areas but based on the advice of health, we cannot release any of them.”
The premier went on to hint that some local government areas may be released from lockdown earlier, saying: “If in the next few weeks we find parts of greater metropolitan Sydney like Wollongong, Shellharbour, are doing better, we will do the things we have done in Orange to allow communities to live more freely but it is up to all of us to make sure we do the right thing and speak up when others are not doing the right thing.”
Several local government areas including Orange, Blayney and Cabonne were released from a snap lockdown at midnight last night.
Berejiklian also said workers who have lost paid work as a result of the lockdown will now be eligible for federal Covid-19 disaster payments. The federal government is expected to make an announcement on this later today.
“It was made clear to us some weeks ago that JobKeeper was off the table, notwithstanding that can I say we fought for our citizens and we have received additional funding support from the Commonwealth and I do want to thank the Prime Minister and the Federal Treasurer providing that extra support,” she said.
“Please note that it involves extra payment for disaster payment so if you are out of work, you will get extra dollars every week and only need to apply once. Every week the money go automatically to your account. If you are out of work or have reduced hours, please do not worry, you will get that weekly payment.”
Meanwhile, Victorians and South Australians woke up to freedom this morning after both states lifted their lockdowns at midnight. Victoria recorded eight new local cases overnight, all in isolation, while South Australia recorded no new local cases.
Meanwhile, Queensland is on high alert after the state recorded one new locally acquired case overnight, and 19 cases from crew members on board a cargo ship currently in Queensland waters.