The number of new diagnoses in NSW has declined for the second consecutive day as the state issues its first on-the-spot fines for ignoring social distancing and the premier prepares to spruik a new stimulus package.
NSW Health has reported 186 new infections with 145 cases acquired from an undetermined source.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the rise in transmissions from an unknown source was concerning as it meant community-to-community transmission is spreading. The premier hinted the state may consider implementing further restrictions to stem the spread of the virus.
“We are at a critical stage of the disease,” said Berejiklian.
“The one figure that is most worrying is the community-to-community transmission. When you have cases from overseas, you have a source so you can monitor the activity. But when it is community-to-community transmission and you don’t have a source, that means the virus is starting to spread in the community without us knowing where and that’s a concern,” she said.
The premier stressed it is now vital that people remain in their homes unless completing essential work or services to ensure we continue to protect the most vulnerable in our society.
“That’s why it is so important that all of us maintain social distancing and all of us make sure we don’t do anything we don’t need to outside our homes and make sure that those most vulnerable don’t leave their homes.
“This is a stage where we all have to be really vigilant and I encourage everyone to do so.”
The premier said the increase in cases from unknown sources would see the government stepping up its policing of compliance.
“If NSW has to make difficult decisions we will. That is critical so that we don’t have more people in the hospital than we can cope with.”
The state has already issued its first fines for failing to self-isolate with a Lake Macquarie woman fined $1000, while a massage parlour was fined $5000 for remaining open.
The premier also thanked all the frontline workers for their work with the community.
“Especially our health professionals. We will be asking so much of them in the weeks and months ahead.”
Meanwhile, the premier is putting the finishing touches on a second stimulus plan for NSW. The new package will focus on tax relief for small businesses, an $80 million package for those facing financial hardship, and a $750 million fund to employ new workers. $34 million has been allocated to prevent homelessness and $10 million to charities.
The premier and NSW treasurer suggest the focus of the stimulus will be to keep people in the state employed.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said, “it’s vital we keep people employed and ensure we have the ability to rebound when things improve”.
“Our expectation is that any relief provided by the NSW Government will be used to contribute to help businesses stay in business and people stay in jobs,” he said.
The Service NSW hotline on 137788 is now operating 24 hours /7 days a week to provide assistance.