Removalists who ‘travelled all over regional NSW despite knowing they had Covid’ face jail

The three removalists who allegedly knew they were infected with coronavirus before they drove out of south-west Sydney and all over regional NSW could be jailed for six months.

The men aged 20, 27 and 27 travelled from West Hoxton to Figtree in Wollongong, before stopping at several towns on their way to Molong, in the state’s central west.

Police caught up with the trio on Speedy Street in Molong at about 2.30pm on Friday after being notified the men had travelled from a Covid hotspot. 

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said they had been charged and face being fined $11,000 each and be jailed for six months.

Three removalists have travelled across Sydney and regional NSW after being informed they had tested positive, they visited Figtree in Wollongong before travelling to Molong in Central west NSW (map above picturing the locations visited by the positive men)

‘Those three gentlemen have been issued court attendance notices,’ he said at Sunday’s press conference. 

‘What I want to highlight is the maximum penalty that the court can impose is $11,000 and/or six months in jail.

‘We often talk about the $600 for a mask, $200 for a mask or $1000 for a personal infringement, but police found the behaviour from these three people to be particularly disturbing. 

‘Despite the best health advice, they continued on their journey. They left their home in Sydney and put significant risk on the people in regional NSW.’

Commissioner Warboys said regional NSW residents, who were anxious to keep their towns Covid-free, were furious at the alleged brazen breaches. 

‘When I talk to people and look at various posts on social media, there is a strong sense that country people simply will not tolerate this sort of behaviour and they feel it puts them at great risk,’ he said.

NSW Police have vowed to continue cracking down on Sydneysiders who were letting down those trying to do the right thing

NSW Police have vowed to continue cracking down on Sydneysiders who were letting down those trying to do the right thing

‘I am sure as it moves through the system that people truly hope this sends a really good message in terms of the court outcome to anyone else that wants to participate in this sort of behaviour and put regional NSW at risk from the virus.’

It is alleged that the three men were notified they tested positive to Covid-19 before making the trip. 

Police escorted the men and their vehicles back to Sydney, and have been told to isolate for 14 days, before being issued Court Attendance Notices for breaching public health orders.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott slammed the removalists for their alleged disregard for the safety of others.

‘This thoughtless act has now placed our regional communities in NSW at the greatest risk so far with this pandemic,’ Mr Elliott said.

‘We know that the delta variant is highly transmissible, and it is unfathomable to think that, with all the public information and health warnings, people could so blatantly ignore the health orders.’

State Emergency Operations Controller, Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said the new restrictions introduced on July 17 will hopefully curb people’s behaviour.

‘Currently, we are seeing millions of people right across this state doing the right thing being let down by a small minority who continue to be irresponsible and put themselves and their communities at risk,’ Deputy Commissioner Worboys said.

‘Today’s strengthening of the health orders means that people will have to change the way that they behave.

The removalist were escorted back to Sydney and have been told to isolate for 14 days, and have been issued Court Attendance Notices for their blatant breach of public health orders (stock)

The removalist were escorted back to Sydney and have been told to isolate for 14 days, and have been issued Court Attendance Notices for their blatant breach of public health orders (stock)

The vast majority of cases on Friday were in the Fairfield council area, in the city's south west

The vast majority of cases on Friday were in the Fairfield council area, in the city’s south west

‘The greater restrictions will see police ramping up our response across all of greater Sydney and regional areas to ensure people comply with the health orders and that public safety is the number one priority’.

In the past 24 hours police have issued 162 Penalty Infringement Notices and charged 18 people.

Four other incidents of note occurred across Sydney and regional NSW.

A woman is seen exercising in Sydney's Centennial park on Saturday morning

A woman is seen exercising in Sydney’s Centennial park on Saturday morning

A man feeds birds at Town Hall on July 17, 2021 in Sydney, Australia during third week of lockdown

A man feeds birds at Town Hall on July 17, 2021 in Sydney, Australia during third week of lockdown

A Mt Druitt man left his home to buy dumbbells in Blacktown, after being informed he had tested positive to Covid-19 at about 10.30pm on July 16. He was fined $1000.

Two Central Coast men have been stopped on the New England highway, south of Guyra, being issued $1000 fines.

Two 27-year-old males were spotted travelling on the Pacific highway in Doyalson, and were both fined $1000 as they do not live in the same household or have a reasonable excuse to leave their homes.

A 60-year-old man travelled from Turramurra to Hawks Nest to sleep in his car. He was issued a $1000 fine and directed to return home.  

Sydney is plunged into harder lockdown after 111 new Covid cases

Sydney’s numbers are again headed in the wrong direction with 111 new coronavirus cases recorded on Saturday to end the third week of lockdown.

Another death was also announced on Saturday, a man in his 80s from south-west Sydney. The total number of deaths in NSW from Covid-19 is now 57.

‘I can’t remember a time when our state has been challenged to such an extent,’ Ms Berejiklian said. ‘Not a single one of these decisions was taken lightly.’

She defended the measures taken to curb the outbreak so far, saying they had prevented ‘thousands and thousands’ of cases and the further restrictions were a ‘no-regrets policy’. 

NSW's lockdown numbers have been going in the wrong direction since early July, leading to the toughest restrictions yet for Greater Sydney

NSW’s lockdown numbers have been going in the wrong direction since early July, leading to the toughest restrictions yet for Greater Sydney

The premier said at least 29 of the fresh cases were infectious in the community and it’s this number that is ‘stubborn’. 

‘We’re not managing to get that curve to come down,’ she said.

Of the 111 new cases, 83 were from South Western Sydney Local Health District and 11 from western Sydney.

Another death was also announced on Saturday, a man in his 80s from southeast Sydney. The total number of deaths in NSW from Covid-19 is now 59. 

Cases dropped to 65 on Thursday after peaking at 112 on Monday, raising hopes the city could be out of lockdown on time on July 30.

But cases rose to 97 on Friday and this latest jump prompted restrictions including closing nearly all shops and tightening of movement rules. 

Ms Berejiklian warned people outside the southwest Sydney outbreak epicentre that they still needed to be vigilant and follow the rules.

‘Just because there hasn’t been a case in your suburb or your local government area, don’t assume there is not,’ she said.

‘There is always a gap between the cases that are exposed and the cases may actually be in the community.’

There are 75 people in hospital in NSW with Covid, including 18 in intensive care, and six needing ventilation.

‘We are seeing some cases still diagnosed late, but we need to see that number get down, it is far too high and that is the basis for why we have recommended much more extensive actions to reduce those interactions,’ NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said.

As of Saturday evening, anyone living in Sydney - including the Central Coast, Illawarra and Blue Mountains - must have a mask with them whenever they leave home

As of Saturday evening, anyone living in Sydney – including the Central Coast, Illawarra and Blue Mountains – must have a mask with them whenever they leave home

Workplaces are a key area where new infections are being seeded, she added.

Dr Chant defended the decision to wait until now to implement harsher directives, saying the time lag in learning about infections was a challenge and referring to her efforts so far in urging workplaces to ‘do the responsible thing’.

The chief health officer was also keen to dispel the myth that it wasn’t impossible for asymptomatic people to transmit coronavirus, saying a person can be infectious when asymptomatic.

Asked about an infected mother who has been separated from her newborn at Nepean Hospital, Dr Chant said: ‘I can’t imagine how difficult the circumstances (are) of giving birth knowing that you are Covid-positive.’ 

There have been 1,137 locally acquired cases reported since 16 June 2021, when the first case in the Bondi cluster was reported.     

Everything you need to know about Sydney’s total shut down: Who can work, who can’t, where you can go and what’s closed 

Stricter lockdown restrictions were imposed across Sydney and especially in the city’s southwest as Covid cases jumped to 111.

The new restrictions announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Saturday aimed to completely shut down the southwest Sydney epicenter of the outbreak.

Fairfield, Liverpool and Cantebury-Bankstown residents were to stay in their local councils.

Residents cannot even leave for work unless they work in heathcare and emergency services until July 30 at the earliest. 

Construction, large or small, will shut and homes and businesses cannot use paid cleaners or have home repairs done unless urgent

Construction, large or small, will shut and homes and businesses cannot use paid cleaners or have home repairs done unless urgent

Only ‘critical retail’ such as supermarkets and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open from 11.59pm on Saturday. Others will have to do click and collect or takeaway.

Construction, large or small, will shut and homes and businesses cannot use paid cleaners or have home repairs done unless urgent. 

There were no new rules for regional areas outside Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, Shellharbour, and the Central Coast. 

Here is what the new rules are and which ones apply to you.

Sydney will now face its toughest-ever lockdown restrictions including the closure of non-critical retail, restrictions on the movements of people in three local government areas and a shut down of 'non-urgent' construction

Sydney will now face its toughest-ever lockdown restrictions including the closure of non-critical retail, restrictions on the movements of people in three local government areas and a shut down of ‘non-urgent’ construction

Most shops will shut

The only shops that can stay open from 11.59pm on Saturday across Sydney are:

  • Supermarkets and grocery stores (including butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable stores, liquor stores and fishmongers)
  • Stores that predominantly sell health, medical, maternity and infant supplies
  • Pharmacies and chemists
  • Petrol stations, car hire
  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Hardware, nurseries and building supplies, agricultural and rural supplies
  • Pet supplies;
  • Post offices and newsagents, office supplies.

Everything else can offer click and collect services for goods ordered online or over the phone which customers can pick up or have delivered.

Ms Berejiklian previously insisted that it was not up to the government to determine was was ‘essential’, but has now backflipped.

Only 'critical retail' such as supermarkets and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open from 11.59pm on Saturday. Others will have to do click and collect or takeaway

Only ‘critical retail’ such as supermarkets and pharmacies will be allowed to remain open from 11.59pm on Saturday. Others will have to do click and collect or takeaway

Southwest Sydney ringfenced

The vast majority of the cases in the outbreak, more than 80 of Saturday’s numbers, are in southwest Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian now wants to quarantine them, and their 810,000 residents from the rest of Sydney, even if they are essential workers. 

Residents of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local council cannot leave their LGA for work except for emergency services and healthcare workers, including aged and disability workers. 

Where those workers do need to leave for work, they are required to be tested every three days, even if they do not have symptoms. 

Is your suburb included?

Fairfield suburbs:

Abbotsbury, Bonnyrigg, Bonnyrigg Heights, Bossley Park, Cabramatta, Cabramatta West, Canley Heights, Canley Vale, Carramar, Cecil Park (part), Edensor Park, Fairfield (part), Fairfield East, Fairfield Heights, Fairfield West, Greenfield Park, Horsley Park, Lansvale, Mount Pritchard (part), Old Guildford, Prairiewood, Smithfield (part), St Johns Park, Villawood (part), Wakeley, Wetherill Park and Yennora (part). 

Liverpool suburbs:

Liverpool City includes the suburbs and localities of Ashcroft, Austral, Badgerys Creek (part), Bringelly (part), Busby, Carnes Hill, Cartwright, Casula, Cecil Hills, Cecil Park (part), Chipping Norton, Denham Court (part), Edmondson Park, Elizabeth Hills, Greendale, Green Valley, Hammondville, Heckenberg, Hinchinbrook, Holsworthy (part), Horningsea Park, Hoxton Park, Kemps Creek (part), Len Waters Estate, Leppington (part), Liverpool, Luddenham (part), Lurnea, Middleton Grange, Miller, Moorebank, Mount Pritchard (part), Pleasure Point, Prestons, Rossmore (part), Sadleir, Silverdale (part), Voyager Point, Wallacia (part), Warwick Farm, Wattle Grove and West Hoxton.

Cantebury-Bankstown suburbs:

Ashbury (part), Bankstown, Bankstown Aerodrome, Bass Hill, Belfield (part), Belmore, Beverly Hills (part), Birrong, Campsie, Canterbury, Chester Hill (part), Chullora, Clemton Park, Condell Park, Croydon Park (part), Earlwood, East Hills, Georges Hall, Greenacre (part), Hurlstone Park (part), Kingsgrove (part), Lakemba, Lansdowne, Milperra, Mount Lewis, Narwee (part), Padstow, Padstow Heights, Panania, Picnic Point, Potts Hill, Punchbowl, Regents Park (part), Revesby, Revesby Heights, Riverwood (part), Roselands, Sefton, Villawood (part), Wiley Park and Yagoona. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has closed down all 'non-urgent' construction until July 30 and also shut down home repairs and even paid cleaning services

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has closed down all ‘non-urgent’ construction until July 30 and also shut down home repairs and even paid cleaning services

Construction and maintenance halted

With everyone mostly locked inside their homes, the government wants to prevent outsiders coming into them, even for essential reasons.

From 12.01am on Monday, all construction to be paused and non-urgent maintenance, including cleaning services, and repair work on homes to be paused.

‘Where there are urgent requirements for electricity or water or other repairs, of course that will occur,’ Ms Berejiklian said. 

Anyone who leaves the home must have a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when you are working outdoors, in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips, and in an outdoor queues waiting for products such as coffee and food

Anyone who leaves the home must have a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when you are working outdoors, in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips, and in an outdoor queues waiting for products such as coffee and food 

More mask restrictions

Anyone who leaves the home must have a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when you are working outdoors, in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips, and in an outdoor queues waiting for products such as coffee and food.

‘No matter where you live in metropolitan Sydney, Greater Sydney, you must have a mask with you,’ Ms Berejiklian said.

‘Even if you are exercising with your household, you might change your mind, be in an outdoor market, get a coffee, you must have a mask.

‘If you are coming into contact with other people, you must have a mask.’

All carpooling to be stopped unless among members of the same household.

Work from home mandate expanded

Employers must allow employees to work from home if the employee is able to do so, failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $10,000. 

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