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Crisis meetings see NSW look at dramatic new restrictions using police checkpoints and cameras

The New South Wales government has reportedly held crisis meetings to discuss introducing dramatic new restrictions to slow Sydney’s latest coronavirus outbreak including police checkpoints and using specialised cameras to catch lockdown-breakers.

NSW Police are looking at using a number of extreme measures to stop Sydneysiders travelling around the Harbour City including manned barricades, cameras that scan licence plates and a complete shutdown of almost all retail stores.

‘It has been conceded by the government that the current lockdown is not doing the job it needs to, so they will go harder,’ Nine News reporter Chris O’Keefe reported. 

The New South Wales government is looking at introducing dramatic new restrictions to slow Sydney’s latest coronavirus outbreak – including police checkpoints (NSW Police on patrol during the current lockdown, pictured)

Police could be used at checkpoints to ensure Sydneysiders aren't breaking the 10-kilometre rule under the city's lockdown

Police could be used at checkpoints to ensure Sydneysiders aren’t breaking the 10-kilometre rule under the city’s lockdown  

The government is considering the extreme measures throughout Greater Sydney after the city’s latest outbreak broke the 1000-case barrier with a further 97 announced Friday.

‘I can’t stress to the community enough my absolute concern that we need to work harder at reducing mobility and reduce our interactions with others if we will bring the situation under control,’ Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in Friday morning’s press conference.

One of the possible new measures is an increased police presence throughout the city including at checkpoints on major roads.

Another is using traffic cameras that read number plates so authorities can identify people who are entering areas they are barred from.

And the immediate closure of almost all retail stores is on the cards after a number of outbreaks in shops. 

‘A few of the options are shutting retail across Greater Sydney and forbidding certain types of work, otherwise a more localised lockdown of the Fairfield area going as far as having police checkpoints and cameras which can read number plates, fining people if they leave the area,’ Mr O’Keefe reported.

The harsh new measures could be applied to hotspots like the Fairfield local government area, where the virus is spreading rapidly (police on patrol during Sydney's lockdown, pictured)

The harsh new measures could be applied to hotspots like the Fairfield local government area, where the virus is spreading rapidly (police on patrol during Sydney’s lockdown, pictured) 

Sydney has been in lockdown for three weeks and the premier has already announced a two-week extension - but there are concerns stay-at-home orders will remain in place well beyond that date

Sydney has been in lockdown for three weeks and the premier has already announced a two-week extension – but there are concerns stay-at-home orders will remain in place well beyond that date

A graph of all the new cases over the past week and the updated daily averages illustrates that infections are still on the rise

A graph of all the new cases over the past week and the updated daily averages illustrates that infections are still on the rise

Sydney’s outbreak of the Delta Covid strain is not yet under control despite three weeks of lockdown and cases dipping under 100 four days in a row. 

A graph of all the new cases over the past week and the updated daily averages illustrates that infections are still on the rise.

And the infection rate has seen Australian Medical Association Omar Khorshid claim NSW will need to go harder – or face an ‘indefinite’ lockdown. 

This is despite the number of new daily cases appearing to peak on July 12 at 112, with cases hovering between 65 and 97 in the four days since.  

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has repeatedly said numbers will continue to ‘bounce around’ as contact tracers work to stay on top of the virus’ spread.

However, she ominously said she would use tougher restrictions should the case rate continue to remain stubbornly high, she would impose tighter restrictions. 

‘If Kerry Chant says we need to introduce to reduce mobility that is what we will do,’ she said. 

But with the daily average increasing by about 10 each day over the last week alone, it’s clear to see that authorities are struggling to keep up.  

Sydney's outbreak of the Delta Covid strain is not yet under control despite three weeks of lockdown and daily cases dropping under 100. Pictured: People exercising in Rushcutters Bay

Sydney’s outbreak of the Delta Covid strain is not yet under control despite three weeks of lockdown and daily cases dropping under 100. Pictured: People exercising in Rushcutters Bay

It's unlikely Ms Berejiklian and chief health officer Kerry Chant will even consider easing Sydney's lockdown until these figures stabilise and drop. Pictured: Police issuing fines in Bondi

It’s unlikely Ms Berejiklian and chief health officer Kerry Chant will even consider easing Sydney’s lockdown until these figures stabilise and drop. Pictured: Police issuing fines in Bondi

It’s unlikely Ms Berejiklian and chief health officer Kerry Chant will even consider easing Sydney’s lockdown until these figures stabilise and drop.

Sydney has been in lockdown for three weeks and the premier has already announced a two-week extension – but there are concerns stay-at-home orders will remain in place well beyond the expected date. 

On Friday, New South Wales recorded a further 97 cases with 29 in the community for their entire infectious period.

Ms Berejiklian said that critical second number needs to be as close to zero as possible in order for the lockdown to end. 

While the number is still below this week’s peak, which occurred on Monday, Ms Berejiklian still expressed concerns that contact tracers still weren’t on top of the outbreak.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has repeatedly said numbers will continue to 'bounce around' as contact tracers work to stay on top of the virus' spread

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has repeatedly said numbers will continue to ‘bounce around’ as contact tracers work to stay on top of the virus’ spread

More than 77,000 people got tested for Covid overnight. The key to ending lockdown is still vaccination. Pictured: A vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park

More than 77,000 people got tested for Covid overnight. The key to ending lockdown is still vaccination. Pictured: A vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney has been in lockdown for three weeks and the premier has already announced a two-week extension. Sydneysiders are free to leave their homes to exercise in pairs

Sydney has been in lockdown for three weeks and the premier has already announced a two-week extension. Sydneysiders are free to leave their homes to exercise in pairs

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

New South Wales has now recorded 1,026 Covid cases since the state’s latest outbreak began on June 16.

Less than a week ago on July 10, the daily average was 32.5 new cases.

But in just six days, that number has more than doubled to 83.8 new cases by Friday. Average cases appear to be trending up by about 10 each day.

Dr Chant said on Friday she is ‘not pleased’ that transmission of the virus ‘appears to be ongoing’.

‘We need to disrupt the cycle, our mobility and other interactions,’ she said. 

Ms Berejiklian has vowed to impose tougher restrictions on Sydneysiders if Dr Chant recommends doing so.

Sydneysiders are free to leave their homes to exercise. Pictured: A woman stretching on Bondi Beach

Sydneysiders are free to leave their homes to exercise. Pictured: A woman stretching on Bondi Beach

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 Delta variant of the virus shows no signs of abating in Sydney and case numbers will continue to rise for at least a few days, according to experts

The Delta variant of the virus shows no signs of abating in Sydney and case numbers will continue to rise for at least a few days, according to experts

‘Please know that every time Dr Chant gives us proposals, we act within hours as we did,’ she said.

‘We will take whatever decision is required to have this lockdown go for as short shorter period as possible.’

Professor Emma McBryde, a disease modeller at James Cook University, said Sydney’s best case scenario is the lockdown will lift in about three to four weeks’ time – probably the latter.

Prof. McBryde said the Delta variant of the virus shows no signs of abating in Sydney and case numbers will continue to rise for at least a few days.

Sydney's outbreak of the Delta Covid strain is not yet under control despite three weeks of lockdown and daily cases dropping under 100

Sydney’s outbreak of the Delta Covid strain is not yet under control despite three weeks of lockdown and daily cases dropping under 100

There have been complaints that Sydney's lockdown is too lax

There have been complaints that Sydney’s lockdown is too lax 

The Burnet Institute's Professor Mark Stoové has warned there was a two week lag between Victoria introducing harsh Stage Four restrictions and case numbers finally falling. Pictured: A man exercising in Rushcutters Bay

The Burnet Institute’s Professor Mark Stoové has warned there was a two week lag between Victoria introducing harsh Stage Four restrictions and case numbers finally falling. Pictured: A man exercising in Rushcutters Bay

Authorities will then have to determine when the virus has peaked ‘and then you have to start chasing those numbers down to zero’.

‘Probably four weeks from now, would be a minimum,’ she said – or about August 9. Even then, the restrictions will ease only slowly.

The Burnet Institute’s Professor Mark Stoové has warned there was a two week lag between Victoria introducing harsh Stage Four restrictions and case numbers finally falling.

Melbourne’s strict lockdown successfully brought the virus to heel but went further than Sydney’s current suite of restrictions.

Melbourne's strict lockdown successfully brought the virus to heel but went further than Sydney's current suite of restrictions

Melbourne’s strict lockdown successfully brought the virus to heel but went further than Sydney’s current suite of restrictions

Sydneysiders are allowed to travel up to 10km for essential exercise

Sydneysiders are allowed to travel up to 10km for essential exercise

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