Stage 3 lockdowns flagged as possible for NSW as coronavirus death toll rises

- March 26, 2020 2 MIN READ

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has suggested tougher lockdown conditions could be coming as NSW reported 190 new cases of coronavirus overnight.

While this represents 10 per cent drop on the previous day’s figures, the premier said she is not ruling out stricter lockdown measures in an effort to turn the tide on diagnoses and flatten the curve.

“If things haven’t shifted because of the actions we took earlier in the week, and actions which I’m very pleased we took at that time, we will have to go further,” Berejiklian said.

The premier said she did not want people to be panicked or overly concerned, but prepared for the possibility.

“Just to know that the NSW Government will go further if we have to, because it’s in the interests of public safety.”

NSW Health authorities have reported there are now 1,219 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NSW. The news came as the nation’s death toll rose to 11. Victoria reported its first fatalities, two men in their 70s. The third death reported was a 68-year-old Queensland man who succumbed to the disease, overnight.

However NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant says the slight decline in new diagnoses proved hopeful that social distancing measures were working. Nonetheless, she suggested NSW’s totals will still continue to rise given the number of Australians returning home from overseas.

Following the Ruby Princess debacle which saw 1000s of passengers disembarked in Sydney with some since testing positive for the virus, the premier has also reassured that no further boats will be docking.

“Nobody will be getting off a ship in NSW until further notice… I do not want any action taken further in relation to releasing any passengers off any boat in Sydney until we get a tick off from all authorities moving forward on new protocols.”

The premier also reiterated that police will be following up to ensure those in self-isolation were staying home

“Police not only are ramping up their presence around all of our ports, but also in rural and regional communities, in particular, to follow up those cases of known people who should be in isolation, to make sure we don’t spread this further anywhere, let alone in those rural and regional communities.”

While Dr Chant said the health department would now be focusing on cases where there were no known links to overseas travellers in an effort to understand how well existing social distancing strategies were working.

She reported the state has also upped the level of beds in its ICUs to 500 following yesterday’s announcement of cancellations of elective surgeries.

Berejilklian said the state would be monitoring the situation closely and she would rather be “cautious and take action” than put citizens at risk.

“As much as possible we are asking everybody to please step up and heed what we’ve asked,” she said.

“NSW is different to the other states. If I feel the curve is not going the way we want it to, I will go further in NSW, there will be further shutdowns.”

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