"Unless there's a dramatic turnaround in the numbers, I can't see how we'd be in a position to ease restrictions by next Friday," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
The NSW Government will be further tightening stay-at-home restrictions in Greater Sydney and four surrounding regions after reporting 44 new COVID-19 cases for the 24 hours to 8pm last night, while the number of close contacts of infected people has doubled to 14,000.
This large spike in the net of people who may have been infected is due to numerous large venues listed as exposure sites including the Ikea in Tempe, an Aldi and a Kmart in Merrylands, and two grocery stores in Auburn.
But the underlying message is that any suburb under lockdown is at risk after it was reported 29 people were out in the community in some way while infectious in recent days. Under half of the new cases were in the key area of concern in Southwestern Sydney, seven were from Western Sydney and eight were from Southeastern Sydney.
People in all the NSW capital's suburbs have been urged to follow orders if the city is to get out of this mess, but a call was made for vigilance - such as coming forward for testing - in numerous areas including Sutherland Shire and suburbs outside of recent focal points such as Maroubra and Hurstville.
"Please assume that every time you leave your home you are at risk of getting the virus and bringing it home to the family you are at risk at of spreading the virus to those closest to you," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
Tightened restrictions including a new 10km radius limit for exercise, limiting the number of people who can exercise together to two, and a limit of 10 people at funerals from Sunday.
The Premier emphasised nobody from outside a household is allowed to make a private visit except to receive care from one person, such as dropping off essential items, for health reasons or exceptional circumstances.
"New South Wales is facing the biggest challenge we have faced since the pandemic started, and I don't say that lightly," the Premier said.
"Unless there's a dramatic turnaround in the numbers, I can't see how we'd be in a position to ease restrictions by next Friday.
"This is not the time for complacency, not the time to cut corners. Compliance is so important."
Both the Premier and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant sought to remove any idea from people's minds that NSW could simply 'live with the virus' given the very low vaccine rates in the state.
"When we had the lockdown in March, people were seeing images from overseas which sort of reinforce the fear and concern about COVID, and now people are looking at countries overseas where they're seeing people go about their work and pleasure in a sort of semi-normal way," Dr Chant said.
"That's because those countries have got vaccination coverages for their adult population, and in some cases down in the child population.
"We have only got 9 per cent vaccination coverage. We cannot let this virus take further foothold and lead to an exponential rise in cases. It will have significant impacts in terms of health and wellbeing of our community."
Dr Chant reiterated yesterday's calls for people to reconsider their need to shop at retail and to buy online wherever possible. Yesterday she also urged young people to step up and take an active role of raising awareness about testing and restrictions with their extended families and on social media.
"COVID cannot affect people if you do not come in contact with them, and therefore that is the basis of the stay-at-home orders," Dr Chant said.
There are now almost as many people in hospital (43) with COVID-19 as the latest daily case rate, including a person in their 20s on a ventilator. There are currently four people on ventilators, out of 10 who are in ICU.
Seven of the 43 people hospitalised with COVID-19 in NSW right now are aged under 35.
There are currently 37 cases that have not been directly linked to a known case or cluster, with a further 117 who are linked to these 37 unlinked cases.
Updated at 12:13pm AEST on 9 July 2021.
Image via WikiMedia Commons.
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