Startling footage of decontamination tents outside a row of suburban houses has laid bare the reality of Sydney’s Delta Covid-19 outbreak.
NSW reported another 239 locally-acquired coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections during the state’s latest outbreak to 2,810.
Of those new cases, 104 were found in south-west Sydney and a further 58 in the city’s west.
Health officials have yet to link 126 of the new infections – more than half the day’s caseload – to known clusters.
Since the start of the outbreak on June 16, NSW Health has failed to trace the source of 800 coronavirus cases – meaning there could be even more infections in Sydney which have gone undetected in the community.
A handheld video shared to TikTok on Thursday evening showed at least six white tents set up in front yards in Sentry Drive in Parklea in Sydney’s north-west.
The quiet suburban street was put on alert last week after at least five people at the Unisson Disability care home tested positive to Covid-19.
The footage emerged amid warnings Australia could be enduring lockdowns until next year as the country continues its elimination strategy until enough people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state premiers will on Friday discuss what percentage of Australians need to be jabbed before the country can live with the virus like flu.
Mr Morrison has said the level will be around 65 or 70 per cent after the UK scrapped restrictions on July 19 with 65 per cent of adults fully jabbed.
‘The United Kingdom was at 65 per cent [and now] just over 70 per cent. So these are the sort of levels you’re talking about,’ Mr Morrison told radio 3AW on Thursday.
He expects all eligible Aussies to be offered their first dose of a vaccine by January, but fears lockdowns may still be required next year.
Since the start of the Sydney outbreak on June 16, NSW Health has failed to trace the source of 800 coronavirus cases. Pictured is a pedestrian in the Waverley LGA in Sydney’s east on Thursday
When asked if Australia will be open by Christmas, he said: ‘No one can give those guarantees because the virus is unpredictable.’
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said she wants 80 per cent of adults – or 62 per cent of state’s population – to be jabbed before opening up.
Until the target is reached, short, sharp lockdowns will be implemented by states in response to a handful of cases to snuff out the virus.
Sydney’s lockdown has been extended until August 28 due to a growing Covid outbreak.
A handheld video shared to TikTok on Thursday evening showed at least six white tents set up in front yards in Sentry Drive in Parklea in Sydney’s north-west
While the majority of cases are still being found in the city’s west and south-west, a new map has shown nowhere in the Harbour City has escaped being exposed to the highly-contagious Delta variant.
Sydney LHD, which encompasses the CBD and highly-populated inner west, recorded 51 infections on the same day.
In the South Eastern Sydney LHD, which includes Randwich, Woollahra and Waverley, there were 14 new transmissions and the Northern Sydney LHD saw three cases.
Five were in the Blue Mountains and four from Illawarra Shoalhaven.
Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone, whose suburb is one of eight deemed ‘Covid red zones’ along with Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Cumberland, Blacktown, Georges River, Campbelltown and Parramatta, says the lack of uniformity in the restrictions is causing a divide.
Pictured is a Covid-19 drive-through testing clinic in Sydney on Wednesday as five million residents endure a hard lockdown to stop the spread of the Delta variant
He is calling on the Berejiklian government to introduce the same rules right across the Harbour City.
‘The community has been fighting this for six weeks, we would much rather do what we have to do, let’s get on with our life, let’s beat this virus together, but it needs to be across the whole of Sydney,’ he told A Current Affair.
‘There’s no use eradicating the virus in half of Sydney and letting the virus spread in the other half of Sydney.’
The mayor said the issue should be treated as a problem for all of Sydney, not just the west.
The map of case numbers over the past seven days shows what’s happening on both sides of Sydney – and that there are far more cases in the CBD and east than most people realise
‘Seventy-one of today’s cases were outside the eight LGAs that are considered to be a hot spot and nobody is talking about that,’ he said.
‘We need the premier and the cabinet to step up. At the moment, we’re getting policies that are dividing our community.’
One of the most enduring mantras of the pandemic is that ‘we are all in this together’ but for many families living in the multi-cultural west, the saying rings out as a hollow slogan.
Those communities are now preparing themselves for a contingent of Australian military personnel to set up a ring fence around their neighbourhoods with extra police on the streets to enforce Covid compliance.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton confirmed on Thursday night 300 personnel would be brought into the city, with patrols starting Monday.
‘We would support the army if they are doing contact tracing and supporting operational measures,’ Mr Carbone said.
‘The army and police are here to help the community, not work against it, and we need to make sure that the messaging is clear on that and that the community supports this.’
Public health expert Bill Bowtell and adjunct professor at UNSW, who is also calling for uniform restrictions to be introduced throughout Sydney, said the tightening of lockdown measures announced today and impending use of the military is simply too little too late.
‘Whatever you do today should have happened five and six weeks ago,’ he said.
One of the most enduring mantras of the pandemic is that ‘we are all in this together’ but for many families living in the west, the saying rings out as a hollow slogan (pictured, a woman enjoying winter sun at Bondi Beach on Thursday)
‘The harsher measures taken when the virus is rampaging through Sydney as it is now, well, it’s a bit too late.
‘We have to do a lot better. As the mayor says, this is not just a Fairfield or Liverpool problem.
‘It’s a problem for all of Sydney and we have to have an all of Sydney approach to what we do to start bringing this virus under control.’