Berejiklian faces calls for tougher lockdown measures as delta variant spreads

Berejiklian faces calls for tougher lockdown measures as delta variant spreads

Gladys Berejiklian

On Wednesday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that greater Sydney will enter its third week of lockdown, as the delta variant of COVID-19 spreads through the community.

The Premier also foreshadowed higher figures on Thursday, and said the cases are mostly centred in Sydney’s south-west, including the local government areas Liverpool, Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown.

“We are pretty confident the virus isn’t spreading in [the east] now but we have seen some concerning statistics on what is happening in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool council areas,” Berejiklian said.

As many retail stores remain open, the Sydney lockdown has been described as half-hearted by many commentators, who have been calling for Berejiklian to introduce stricter measures to stop the spread of the virus.

These measures, the kind that have previously been introduced by the Victorian state government in past outbreaks, aim for a total lockdown. Berejiklian has always maintained she wants to impose the most minimum restrictions possible on the citizens of NSW and has criticised the Victorian government for imposing tough restrictions.

But as the COVID-19 case numbers in NSW continue to roll in, many without being in isolation while infectious, harsher measures may quickly become unavoidable.

Indeed, even Sky News commentator Peta Credlin – who had been very critical of Victoria’ s tough lockdown measures – said she wasn’t happy with the lax nature of the lockdown in NSW.

“If you are going to stop the whole of the economy, you want to stop it for the shortest period of time, and that tells you that you’ve got to go hard. It feels like a bit of a Claytons lockdown in Sydney,” she said.

It comes as it’s been reported that NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet opposed the extension of the lockdown, and had told his colleagues during a crisis meeting on Tuesday that the community needed to learn to live with the virus.

Perrottet had previously urged the federal government to reintroduce wage subsidy payments for those in NSW during the outbreak.

A similar tone was taken by Health Minister Brad Hazzard during Wednesday’s press conference, when he said NSW may need to adjust its approach to the outbreak if the current lockdown was not effective.  He said there may come a point where we will have to learn to live with COVID-19.

“I think at some stage, if the individuals don’t hear Dr Chant’s message and don’t respond, then at some point we’re going to move to a stage where we are going to have to accept that the virus has a life which will continue in the community,” Hazzard said.

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