After a third consecutive day of no new locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 in New South Wales, Premier Gladys Berejiklian believes the state could soon be on track to having similar conditions to those that were in place before the Northern Beaches outbreak in December.
At a press conference in the Mid North Coast, the Premier thanked the 20,000 people who got tested in the 24 hours to 8pm yesterday, which was almost double the previous day's figure.
"We had a good health advice this morning and consultation with colleagues, and the best health advice is that we should wait another week before we ease restrictions," Berejiklian said.
"But I do want to assure the community that the government's intention is to get as close to pre-Avalon conditions as possible next week," she said, clarifying this did not depend on having zero new cases every day, but numbers must remain low with good testing rates.
However, she emphasised people needed to go back to work in a COVID-safe way, with the right settings in place in light of the more contagious strains of the virus.
"In particular I'd like to highlight masks for example on public transport might be something that stays in place indefinitely, but for the vast majority of restrictions, we would like to see things go back to pre-Avalon as close as possible next week.
"Together we've achieved the results we have and relief is around the corner. Now, if we move too quickly in easing all these restrictions, that could cause a flare-up we don't want.
"More importantly, we don't want to be in a position where we're announcing things ad hoc."
Elsewhere, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her state was "100 per cent on track" to lifting its restrictions - such as gathering limits, numbers of patrons per square metre and mask wearing requirements - if everything goes well in the next 24 hours. But her comments did not relate to border restrictions for visitors from hotspot areas, which remain in force.
Updated at 11:30am AEDT on 20 January 2021.
Help us deliver quality journalism to you.
As a free and independent news site providing daily updates
during a period of unprecedented challenges for businesses everywhere
we call on your support