Under fire: NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian made some questionable comments during her daily press conference on Thursday
Gladys Berejiklian has been accused of lying when she claimed Sydney has the strictest Covid restrictions Australia has ever seen – given Melbourne’s nightly curfew and mandatory outdoor masks and South Australia’s tough recent restrictions.
The NSW Prime Minister announced on Thursday that 239 cases of Covid-19 had been recorded overnight, a pandemic record for Greater Sydney.
That included 70 cases that were contagious in the community from 110,962 tests — another milestone, and one that has led to further restrictions in the west and southwest of the city.
But the beleaguered Prime Minister was quickly called out on social media when she claimed at her daily press conference that NSW had the strictest rules of any Australian jurisdiction to date.
The comment came after Sky News journalist Andrew Clennell demanded Ms Berejiklian admit that her strategy had failed to stop the spread of the Delta variant, dooming the city to at least four more weeks of lockdown, but possibly more. .
Clennell asked, “Will you admit… the strategy is failing and this death of 1,000 cuts, a little bit of restrictions every day doesn’t work and you have to act hard?”
Ms Berejiklian replied that Sydney’s mobility data showed that the population adhered to the restrictions, claiming: ‘Well, we have stricter restrictions than any other state has ever had.
MELBOURNE: During Australia’s longest lockdown of 2020, residents had to wear masks outside (upstairs, near St Kilda) – and the police were never far away
ADELAIDE: The South Australia lockdown earlier this month introduced the toughest restrictions ever, including a 2.5km limit. Testing queues above in the ‘church town’
Veteran journalist Janine Perrett tweeted: “Will the NSW Premier stop saying these are the toughest measures Australia has ever seen as it is patently untrue.”
Punter Dianne Kaines burst out: “I’m glowing with rage. What an outright LIE.’
During the second wave of last year, all Melbourne residents were required by law to wear masks outdoors. They were not allowed to travel more than 3 miles from home and had to be home at night due to a curfew.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews established a ‘ring of steel’ around the city to prevent the spread of the virus to the regions and other states.
Similarly, residents of South Australia were briefly subjected to even tougher restrictions — including a grueling 2.5km exercise limit — during that state’s brief lockdown earlier this month.
The NSW government has long opposed similar measures, although Ms Berejiklian announced today that she will mandate outdoor masks in eight local government areas of concern.
That applies to the Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Blacktown, Cumberland, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River.
The Prime Minister also suggested that the state’s NSW vaccination rate was or could be “higher” than other states – a comment that was also poorly received online.
“As we are going through a very difficult time in NSW, let’s think about a time when we may be living more freely than any other state as our vaccination coverage is higher,” said Ms Berejiklian.
But NSW is currently trailing Victoria in the vaccination race, according to recent data from the Federal Health Department.
Nearly 1.4 million NSW residents have been vaccinated, compared to 1.57 Victorians.
One Twitter user commented: ‘Let’s imagine how we get out of this crisis? No wonder things are so bad with this kind of leadership (sic)’.
A second added: “This woman’s hubris is infuriating.”
A woman in sportswear runs along the beach in Bronte in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Wednesday. Greater Sydney has been under strict home isolation for nearly five weeks to stop the spread of the highly contagious Delta Covid-19 strain
Today’s spike in cases is the highest rise the state has recorded in a single day in the entire pandemic.
NSW Health also confirmed the deaths of two more residents of the state from Covid-19 – a woman in her 90s and a man in his 80s from south-west Sydney.
Neither of them had been vaccinated against the virus.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said 25 percent of state residents over the age of 70 have yet to receive their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
There are now 182 patients afflicted with the virus in hospitals across the state (up from 17 since Wednesday) – 54 of them in intensive care and 22 on a ventilator.
dr. Chant said 17 of the patients in intensive care (31 percent) were under the age of 40, including two in their teens, eight in their 20s and three in their 40s.
Just a day after the city’s household restriction was extended for another four weeks, Ms Berejiklian also announced that two million Sydney residents living in one of eight hotspot LGAs in the western and southwestern suburbs would be required to wear a mask. wear when they leave home.
Those areas are Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Blacktown, Cumberland, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River.
‘If you set foot outside your household, you should always wear a mask. It doesn’t matter where it is,’ she said.
“We’re seeing too much evidence of people not wearing masks when they need to.”
Penalties for not wearing a face mask in the state, meanwhile, are being increased from $200 to $500.
As of midnight Saturday morning, residents in those LGAs are also not allowed to travel more than 5km from their home for essential shopping or to exercise.
“These harsh measures are the toughest Australia has ever experienced during a lockdown,” she said.
HOW SYDNEY’S STRONGER LOCKDOWN RULES WILL INFLUENCE YOU?
In the eight hotspot LGAs (Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool and Parramatta):
Residents must wear a mask when they leave the house, including when they are outside.
The travel limit for essential exercise and shopping has been reduced from 10 km to 5 km.
Anyone who is in a ‘singles bubble’ with another person must follow the same travel restriction.
The fine for violating mask restrictions will be increased from $200 to $500
“The Delta species is unlike anything we’ve seen,” she said.
“I appreciate, while we’re all under stress and pressure from the shutdown, if you live in those eight local government areas, we ask so much of you.”
Health officials said 104 of the new cases – nearly half – were found in southwestern Sydney, while 58 were discovered in the west of the city.
However, a further 51 – up from 20 on Wednesday – were found in Sydney’s central health precinct, a disturbing sign that the outbreak has severed containment lines in the western suburbs and moved back east.
The outbreak began on June 16 when an airport transportation worker tested positive for Covid-19 in the city’s eastern suburbs.
Thursday’s spike in cases is the highest rise the state has recorded in the entire pandemic in one day
She replied, “I’m never going to suggest that we do everything right.”
The state leader has been criticized for refusing to impose stay-at-home orders in Greater Sydney until June 26, 10 days after the city’s outbreak began.
Victoria has just lifted restrictions after a two-week lockdown and South Australia has released residents from a week-long lockdown.
“I don’t think any government around the world can say they’re doing everything right because there’s no rulebook,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I am the first to admit at every stage of the process in the last 18 months, in hindsight it would be great to know the alternative course. We’ll never know.’