Following NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's message that daily cases with community exposure must get "as close to zero as possible" for the Greater Sydney lockdown to be lifted, it will come as little surprise to most that restrictions have been extended until at least 30 July.
NSW Health reported 97 new locally transmitted cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, of whom 24 were infectious while out and about.
Over the past week the number of hospitalisations has risen sharply to 71.
The Premier has also thanked the community of Fairfield where there is currently the highest concentration of infections, as mobility data shows a "considerable drop-off" in the numbers, meaning residents are responding to the state's health messages and are staying at home.
Berejiklian emphasised people who live in the area but work elsewhere can get tested near their workplaces in order to alleviate some of the pressure on Fairfield testing centres.
"I'm just so deeply grateful that you have responded so positively. We now need adjoining council areas to take up that message in large numbers as well," the Premier said.
"As I promised yesterday, the New South Wales Government, based on the health advice would provide information on the extension of the lockdown.
"It always hurts to say this but we need to extend the lockdown at least a further two weeks from Friday the 16th of July to Friday the 30th of July. That includes home learning, however we'll obviously assess the situation at the end of those two weeks and provide information beyond that."
Berejiklian said she fought hard to secure the COVID support package announced yesterday, noting the state was providing additional funding so that "businesses and individuals don't stress".
"Of course we want to see this lockdown end in a timely way, but no matter how long we do need, we will have that support for businesses and for individuals," she said.
Key elements of latest package
- Grants between $7,500 and $15,000 available to eligible businesses with annual wages up to $10 million
- New $1,500 fortnightly grant program introduced for smaller micro businesses with turnover between $30,000 and $75,000.
- COVID-19 Commonwealth Disaster Payment to be lifted from 18 July to $600 if a person has lost 20 or more hours of work per week, and to $375 for those who lost between eight and less than 20 hours.
- Payroll tax waivers of 25 per cent for businesses with Australian wages of between $1.2 million and $10 million that have experienced a 30 per cent decline in turnover.
- NSW Government will cover disaster recovery payments for areas outside the Commonwealth-declared hotspot from week four of the Greater Sydney lockdown.
- $75 million support package for the performing arts sector to be administered by Create NSW.
- $26 million support package for the accommodation sector.
- Residential tenants will have greater protection with a targeted eviction moratorium.
- Residential landlords who decrease rent for impacted tenants can apply for a grant of up to $1,500 or land tax reductions depending on their circumstances.
- Commercial and retail landlords will need to attempt mediation before recovering a security bond, or locking out or evicting a tenant impacted by the Public Health Order.
- Commercial, retail and residential landlords liable for land tax will be eligible for a land tax concession where they reduce the rent of their tenant.
- $12 million in additional funding for temporary accommodation for those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
- $5.1 million in NSW funding to support mental health.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the majority of cases are close contacts and household contacts, but authorities are seeing some unlinked cases whose sources are being actively investigated.
The pattern is mostly around household infections but some transmission is also being seen in workplaces, which comes as a reminder for essential businesses to ensure they've got COVID Safe plans in place.
"Of today's cases, the vast majority were in the southwestern Sydney, so of the 97 cases, 70 are from Southwestern Sydney Local Health District and most of these are from the local government area of Fairfield," Dr Chant said.
Workers from across Greater Sydney who work at locations more than 50km from the outer boundary of the Shellharbour, Wollongong, Wollondilly, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Central Coast LGAs must be tested for COVID-19 every seven days, even if they do not have symptoms.
From 14-18 July, workers from Greater Sydney can continue to work more than 50km from the outer boundary of the Shellharbour, Wollongong, Wollondilly, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Central Coast LGAs if they have not been tested, however they must take reasonable steps to do so prior to 19 July.
Updated at 11:18am AEST on 14 July 2021.
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