/ 24 June 2021

COVID crackdown for NSW

Greater Sydney is now under the most stringent set of restrictions since the pre-Christmas Northern Beaches lockdown after 16 new COVID cases were reported in Sydney, taking the Bondi cluster to 31 cases. Nine of those are linked to a super-spreading party in Sydney’s west, and are 4 not yet linked to an existing outbreak. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she couldn’t rule out a lockdown, but the idea is to “not burden our citizens unless we absolutely have to.” But getting on top of the tricky Delta strain of the coronavirus “relies on all of us reining in our behaviour,” she said.

Let’s take it in 3 parts…

• From 4:00pm yesterday, people from 7 local government areas of Sydney’s east, centre, and inner west are not allowed to leave the metropolitan area for non-essential reasons for the next week. That affects more than a million people.

• Across Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour, there are ramped up restrictions that will also be in place for a week. That includes a limit of 5 visitors at home, social distancing rules in hospitality venues, and indoor mask-wearing, including at work.

• And just in time for the school holidays, the interstate travel plans of thousands have been thrown into disarray, and tourism operators are set to suffer – again… Going around the grounds: Western and South Oz put up a border ban for anyone travelling from NSW. Queensland doesn’t want to see anyone from Greater Sydney. Victoria, Tassie and the ACT have a ban on residents from those 7 areas. And in the Top End, restrictions apply to residents from the Woollahra and Waverley council areas – they need to go into quarantine for 14 days.

Yep. It’s been as unwieldy as an allegedly drunk Senator… This is why there’s so much focus on vaccination as a way out of this recurring nightmare. Yesterday, federal officials had an update on our program: Australia will not need the AstraZeneca vaccine after October because most Australians over 60yo will be vaccinated by then. Between October and December, 27.6 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be imported, and the Moderna vaccine will start to come online to finish the job of offering all Aussies who want to be vaccinated at least one dose by the end of this year. Those are the Federal Government’s ‘allocations horizons’ (which we think is a fancy way of saying ‘supply targets’..).

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