Ms Berejiklian said the drop in locally-acquired infections – down from 97 new cases on Wednesday – was a promising sign authorities may be turning the tide on the state’s highly-contagious outbreak of the Delta variant.
Sydney is nearing the end of a third week of a strict stay-at-home lockdown, which was on Wednesday extended until at least July 30 to stem the spread of the virus.
There are now 73 patients across the state in hospital suffering from Covid-19 (up two from Wednesday) and 19 in intensive care (down one from Wednesday).
However, there are now five Covid-19 patients state-wide – compared to four on Wednesday – who need a ventilator to breathe.
Of the 65 new cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday night, 46 were detected in south-west Sydney and eight were found in the city’s south-east.
The outbreak of infections that began on June 16 when an airport limousine worker tested positive has now reached 929 locally-acquired cases.
Ms Berejiklian said there were still far too many cases who weren’t already self-isolating at home when they tested positive and were contagious in the community.
‘Based on the fact we had 28 people infectious in the community in the last 24 hours, I am predicting that we will have higher case numbers on Friday,’ she said.
‘Twenty-eight is too high and we need to do better than that to get out of lockdown.’
The state leader has said repeatedly that figure would have to reach zero before she considers easing restrictions in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour.
During a feisty exchange with reporters on Thursday, Ms Berejkilian was repeatedly forced to defend her decision not to plunge Sydney into a tougher lockdown.
Sydneysiders are pictured in the city’s Centennial Park on Thursday. New South Wales has recorded 65 local cases of Covid-19 overnight, including 28 who were out in the community for their entire infectious period
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the drop in locally-acquired infections – down from 97 new cases on Wednesday – was a promising sign authorities may be turning the tide on the outbreak
Sydneysiders walk through the surf at Bondi Beach on Thursday morning. Greater Sydney is nearing the end of a third week of a strict stay-at-home lockdown
‘Why can’t you clearly define what an essential worker is? In Victoria, that was done. Why can’t you do the same?’ one reporter asked.
Unlike Victorian officials during the state’s deadly second wave of cases last year, the NSW government has refused to specify which businesses are essential during Sydney’s lockdown – meaning clothing, jewellery and electronics stores can operate as normal.
‘You must stay at home and work from home, however if you cannot do that, you are can leave home for work,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘Why not tighten that, though? Victoria did it successfully,’ the reporter replied.
‘No they didnt,’ Ms Berejiklian responded abruptly – referencing how Victoria’s second wave led to 768 deaths and more than 18,000 infections after the virus broke out of Melbourne hotel quarantine in May 2020.
‘The health orders are very clear in relation to retail. The vast majority of retail shops are not open – they are closed – but those shops that are still open are ones all of us rely on such as pharmacists, supermarkets,’ she said.
‘There may be legitimate issues for why those businesses are essential.’
The state premier also received a grilling from Sky News journalist Andrew Clennell, who called for Sydney to be locked down harder to ensure the city will be free of restrictions by August.
Ms Berejiklian was on Thursday grilled by reporters over her decision not to lock down Sydney further
‘Premier, you have locked us down for three weeks and now you are locking us down for another two weeks,’ Mr Clennell said.
‘What is to say it won’t be another two weeks on top of that? When are you going to acknowledge it is time to lock it down harder to get rid of this thing?’
Ms Berejiklian said Sydney’s lockdown rules are based on the advice of top medical experts.
‘We are never afraid to take the difficult decisions to keep out community safe,’ she said.
Sky News journalist Andrew Clennell called for Sydney to be plunged into a harder lockdown to ensure the city will be free of restrictions by August
But Mr Clennell piped up again and pointed out the number of new cases being recorded each day are ‘not shifting’.
Again, the premier hit back and said if the Delta strain was ripping through Sydney, daily case numbers would be ‘doubling, tripling after a day’.
‘We are not seeing that trend. What we are seeing at the moment is the start of a stabilisation proceed,’ she said.
The announcement comes after it emerged overnight a Covid-infected worker at a Sydney building firm may have exposed hundreds to the virus after turning up for work for two weeks while unknowingly infectious.
Two pedestrians in hi-vis jackets are pictured walking along the promenade at Bondi Beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The NSW government has refused to enforce a time limit on daily exercise
An urgent alert is out for anyone who visited the Greenacre firms D&M Excavations and Hanson Concrete Australia in Bullfrog Street at any time between July 1 and July 13, who must isolate immediately and get tested.
The employee is feared to have come into contact with potentially hundreds of customers and staff during the nearly two week window.
The warning came as NSW Health named a further 32 new exposure sites across the city and beyond, with two new worrying hotspots named in the south of the state.
Two Shell service stations on the road south from Sydney to Melbourne have been named as close contact sites after a traveller stopped off there while infectious.
Police officers are pictured on horseback in Sydney’s Centennial Park on Thursday morning
Anyone who was at the Shell petrol station in South Gundagai on Thursday July 8 between 1am and 1.30am is a close contact and must go into immediate isolation and get tested.
There’s an identical alert for another Shell petrol station close to the Victorian border in Jindera, where an infected person stopped off on Saturday July 10 between 11.10 and 11.45am.
A third Shell service station in Hay in the NSW Riverina region has also been named as a casual contact site.
An infected passenger has also made repeated trips on the 309 bus route in Sydney between the city centre and Beaconsfield on July 6 and 7, sparking another close contact alert.
Pictured: Healthcare workers at the Eden Centre testing centre in the Fairfield local government area – a Covid-19 hotspot region in Sydney’s south-west
Meanwhile, nine locations have been identified as casual contacts sites including an infected person who made several trips to the Strathfield 7-Eleven, and another who visited the Greenacres McDonald’s.
Hurstville Woolworths and Pyrmont Coles were also casual contact exposure sites, said NSW Health.
Another 18 locations across Sydney’s east, west and south – including Liquorland and Coles in Bondi Junction, the Kmart in Fairfield and Priceline Pharmacy in Sutherland – have been identified as possible hotspots where anyone showing symptoms should isolate and get tested.
An infected passenger made repeated trips on the 309 bus route in Sydney between the city centre and Beaconsfield on July 6 and 7 (pictured, a Sydney bus)
NEW: USE DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA’S TRACKER TO FIND THE LATEST EXPOSURE SITES NEAR YOU
Another 18 locations across Sydney’s east, west and south – including Liquorland and Coles in Bondi Junction, the Kmart in Fairfield (pictured) and Priceline Pharmacy in Sutherland – have been identified as possible hotspots
A Covid-infected worker at a Sydney building firm may have exposed hundreds to the virus after turning up for work for two weeks while infectious (pictured, workers in Sydney on Wednesday)
The Sydney outbreak meanwhile has now spread to Victoria after infected removalists took the disease south, sparking a new cluster and the fear of a fifth lockdown for the state.
Tough Covid restrictions are expected to be imposed on Melbourne in the coming days after the city recorded 11 local infections on Wednesday and another two new cases on Thursday.
Masks are mandatory again in indoor settings, with discussions ongoing about a possible three-day snap lockdown or new visitor limits.
SYDNEY’S LOCKDOWN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW UNTIL JULY 30
Those living in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Shellharbour and Wollongong must abide by the following:
Masks are mandatory in all indoor settings outside the home, including offices and apartment buildings
Residents can travel only 10km from their homes
– Exercise and gather in groups of two while outside
– Only one member of each household per day allowed to leave the home for essential shopping
– No browsing in supermarkets and retail businesses. Shop only for essential items
– Funerals are capped at 10, weddings are banned
– No car pooling with other households when going out for exercise
There is no curfew but a stay at home order applies, with only four reasons to leave your home
Schools are closed with at-home learning in place, but no child will be turned away if they need to attend in person
The new rules are in addition to the stay-at-home orders already in place until July 30, which include only leaving the home to
*shop for essential items (one person only)
*give care and compassionate reasons (one visitor only)
*exercise or for work or education that cannot be conducted remotely
The rest of NSW (including regional areas) is subject to the following restrictions:
- Dance and gym classes are limited to 20 people per class and masks must be worn
- No more than five visitors (including children) allowed in homes
- Masks are compulsory in all indoor non-residential settings
- The four-square-metre rule is back for indoor and outdoor settings and drinking while standing at indoor venues is not allowed
- Dancing will not be allowed at indoor hospitality venues or nightclubs, but dancing is allowed at weddings for the wedding party (no more than 20 people)
When does the lockdown end?
- Stay at home orders apply to Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wollongong and Shellharbour until 11.59pm on Friday, July 30, 2021
Covid-19 Australia: New South Wales records 65 cases of Covid-19 overnight