NSW is teetering on a precipice according to Premier Gladys Brejiklian, as the state records a further 18 cases of coronavirus overnight.
The premier has once again warned citizens to remain alert and abide by social distancing rules and maintain good hygiene as the state is in a critical time in its fight against the virus. The premier suggests the state is continuing to hold the line, but an accumulation of new cases with no direct link is cause for concern.
“Can I please stress to the community that NSW remains in a state of high alert. We know that the rules we’ve put in place, the strong advice that we’ve provided works, so long as it is applied across the board. Whether it’s an extracurricular activity that shouldn’t occur. Whether it’s the recommendation for people to wear masks when they can’t guarantee social distancing, whether its on public transport or supermarkets. Whether it’s the way in which we’ve asked businesses to approach a COVID-safe environment. Compliance is absolutely critical,” Berejiklian said.
Of the 18 new cases reported today, two cases have been linked to the Tangara School cluster, with concerns that more will be reported in the coming days. The school now accounts for 19 confirmed cases since the first infection was discovered on Thursday morning. The source of the cluster remains unknown. However, NSW Health authorities believe the cluster may be linked to an overnight retreat at a study centre.
Berjiklian has slammed the retreat organisers saying extracurricular activities such as this should not be happening at this time.
The school cluster and NSW’s recent high numbers have also prompted the premier to suggest that if conditions don’t improve stricter measures may need to be reinstated to control the spread of the virus.
“If we don’t see a greater uptake in the next little while, we will consider further measures in which we can see that uptake,” she advised.
“Please know whilst numbers have remained stable in NSW for the past month, we cant be assured of that moving forward. Our contact tracers and health officials have been able to do an amazing job because we have been able to control the number of clusters and the number of people who’ve been identified as having the disease. But obviously cumulatively when there is a number of unknown sources over a number of weeks, our level of concern increases that we’ve captured all the sources where the diseases may be transmitting.”
The premier warned if the guidelines around mask-wearing and social distancing weren’t adhered to, the government would consider making masks mandatory.
“Every time you step outside your house, you have to assume that you, and everybody you come into contact with has the virus. that’s the only way we will beat this thing.”
The premier also announced there would be a grace period instated over the next month in which NSW residents returning from Victoria would not be required to pay for their hotel quarantine. Berejiklian said much like the way the government initially footed the bill for international travellers returning home to hotel quarantine, NSW would now provide the same option to residents returning from Victoria.
“We feel there are a number of applications on hardship grounds where NSW residents, who may have lost their jobs or have been down there for very tragic family circumstances, want to come back home,” she said.
Rather than have these people delay their return or waste resources on checking if someone qualified for hardship the premier said the state would now pay for any hotel quarantine for the next month. Returned NSW citizens would have to transit through Sydney airport and then on to quarantine.
“Of course, you will still need to do your hotel quarantine, but you won’t need to pay for it,” she said.
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