, ‘Zero’ truth to reports of NSW lockdown, The Nzuchi Times

‘Zero’ truth to reports of NSW lockdown

, ‘Zero’ truth to reports of NSW lockdown, The Nzuchi Times

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says there is “zero” truth to reports the state is likely to announce a lockdown by Friday.

NSW announced a number of new restrictions on Wednesday such as mandatory masks indoors, including in workplaces, and travel restrictions on residents in seven Sydney local government areas.

It followed confirmation of 16 new cases in Sydney, including a superspreader event that saw 10 guests infected at a birthday party in West Hoxton that 30 people attended.

The sharp increase in cases and the emergence of four unlinked cases has led to speculation NSW may have to go into lockdown.

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However, Mr Hazzard denied reports this was in the works.

“No plan to lockdown contrary to media reports this evening,” Mr Hazzard told news.com.au on Wednesday night.

“Measures implemented this afternoon are proportionate and appropriate.

“Reports of a lockdown are greatly exaggerated.”

Infectious diseases expert Professor Peter Collignon of Australian National University believes the decision not to lock down is appropriate.

“I think the restrictions are appropriate for the risk, based on the information we’ve had,” he told news.com.au.

Prof Collignon said there appeared to be about 10 to 12 cases a day in NSW but the vast majority were already in isolation.

While there were four unlinked cases among those announced on Wednesday, Prof Collignon said it often took a day or two for authorities to investigate these and understand if they really were mystery cases.

“We’ll have to watch what happens with numbers and how many stay unlinked,” he said.

, ‘Zero’ truth to reports of NSW lockdown, The Nzuchi Times

Prof Collignon said the restrictions announced, including the wearing of masks indoors and restrictions on the movement of people living in seven local government areas, would make a significant difference in suppressing ongoing transmission.

RELATED: NSW bans travel and makes masks mandatory indoors

Prof Collignon noted the restrictions would stop many people in Sydney from leaving the city during school holidays.

“It’s not as if what they have put in place won’t have a severe impact economically and socially,” he said.

“But I think at the moment it is a reasonable thing to impose.”

He said authorities should be able to control cases through restrictions like masks and the four metre rule, as long as there was a cooperative public.

On Wednesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hailed the state’s contact tracing efforts, describing it as “better than I have ever seen”.

“But what we haven’t seen before is the contagiousness of this variant of the virus,” she warned.

“It is extremely contagious and the fleeting exchanges, not even physical touching, has meant people have transferred the virus.”

While other states have chosen to lockdown to control the spread of the virus, Prof Collignon said there were actually other restrictions that NSW could put in place before it decided to pull the lever on a lockdown.

This included reducing household gatherings further to just two or three people instead of five people, and closing higher risk venues such as restaurants, bars, gyms and churches. People could also be encouraged to work from home more.

From 4pm Wednesday, the NSW Government placed restrictions on indoor venues including the reintroduction of the one person per four square metre rule.

Masks have also been made compulsory, including in workplaces, organised outdoor events and gyms.

People will need to be seated in venues while drinking, and singing at churches and other places of worship is not allowed.

Dancing will not be allowed except for at weddings (restricted to up to 20 members of the bridal party).

Anyone living in the seven local government areas of City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra, is not allowed to undertake non-essential travel outside of the metropolitan Sydney area.

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