Plans to allow only emergency and medical personnel to leave three southwestern areas of Sydney in the city’s epicenter of the city’s Covid-19 outbreak for work were shelved on Sunday, despite another day of over 100 new cases.
Health authorities in New South Wales announced 105 new local cases on Sunday, including 27 in the community while they were infectious.
Authorities have announced a fourth death from the current Sydney outbreak: a 90-year-old woman from south-east Sydney. About 66 of Sunday’s cases were linked to known clusters while 39 were under investigation.
The tougher restrictions the state has had since the start of the pandemic have come into effect, but they have not been as harsh as initially anticipated. Announcing the new restrictions on Saturday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said only health and emergency workers will be able to leave the local government areas of Fairfield, Liverpool or Canterbury-Bankstown.
On Saturday, he said anyone living in the three areas could not leave “unless they worked in the health or emergency services” as about 80 percent of new cases came from the three areas.
But by Sunday, a list of “authorized workers” allowed to leave had exploded in 35 professional groups, from retail, warehousing, manufacturing and transportation to courier services, coffin makers and telecommunications. Teachers and childcare assistants will also be able to leave for work, provided they are tested every three days.
Asked about the changing guidelines in the wake of the major announcement, Berejiklian said, “We have ensured, through consultation with business, community, freight and logistics, that we have included the ability for workers to leave. community providing those things we all need and we have been very open to workers who can leave ”.
Groups representing transportation workers welcomed the change, but said Saturday’s initial announcement caused confusion, chaos and frustration.
The premier also thanked the residents for their patience and said that “complete” information is now available.
“I’m not embarrassed to say that in public life yesterday was probably the hardest day I have personally had,” she said.
NSW police said Sunday they had issued 240 infringement notices the previous day in 43 different police districts. Most were in Newcastle and Sydney.
From Monday, all construction and maintenance work on the buildings will halt, adding further restrictions on which retail outlets they can open as the state struggles to stop the growing number of active cases.
New NSW exposure sites listed by health authorities Sunday afternoon included a truck park in Raglan, near Bathurst, suggesting the virus was spreading more widely.
The Transport Workers’ Union and the Australian Road Transport Industrial Organization (Artio) said more than 20,000 transport workers lived in the three LGAs, but the main bus depots were not.
NSW branch secretary Richard Olsen, who thanked the government for the transport worker exemption, said on Sunday: “The exemption will be a relief to the more than 20,000 transport workers in southwest Sydney who believed yesterday. of not being able to go to work. “
The workers had “kept the country moving” but “shouldn’t be stressed by the confusion and chaos,” he said.
Artio NSW Secretary Laurie D’Apice said, “We are delighted that a full exemption has been granted, but transportation companies need more clarity than an updated webpage. The extreme demand in the transport sector cannot bear mixed messages that cause delays and frustration. “
Assoc Prof Hassan Vally, epidemiologist and public health expert at La Trobe University, Melbourne, said it would be easier and simpler to have consistent rules across the Greater Sydney area, instead of trying to isolate several LGAs.
He said: “The easiest thing to implement – and what would have the best effect on the broadcast – would be to set the rules across Greater Sydney. These three areas are clearly hot spots, but it becomes more complex to have rules for different LGAs. “
She said one of the reasons Victoria kept the same rules in regional and city areas during major outbreaks was to avoid confusion among the public.
“There is no point in having rules for these LGAs if you cannot enforce them. The argument may be that it’s worth it if you can save the rest of Sydney, but it’s been going on for a long time now and it looks like they’re not really moving forward. “
Bernie Smith, NSW secretary of the SDA representing retail, fast food and warehouse workers, said the government’s decision to change worker exemptions “raises as many questions as answers.”
He said SDA analysis showed that up to 80 percent of all close contact locations that required people to be tested and isolated for 14 days were in stores and malls.
“In the three LGAs of interest, workers in supermarkets, gas stations, take-away food, warehouses and other essential shops are the only ones who do not have priority access to vaccinations. This is not right.
“We recognize the undeniable priority for health care, care for the elderly, the disabled and quarantined workers alongside the vulnerable and even teachers, but it is breathtaking and infuriating that the government continues to ignore the plight of retail workers. .
“The Morrison government made a total disaster with the vaccine launch and the Australian quarantine system and now we are all paying the price.”
[ https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jul/18/nsw-covid-update-105-new-cases-reported-and-one-death-as-berejiklian-relaxes-south-west-sydney-rules https://d26toa8f6ahusa.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/30214746/a-quiet-place-part-2-bigs-16.pdf