Gladys Berejiklian says the people of New South Wales will have to accept ‘we are living in a pandemic’ and insisted the state ‘can’t shutdown every time we have a cluster’.
The premier on Tuesday said NSW would not close its economy despite the number of coronavirus infections linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s south-west climbing 30.
Pressure has mounted on the state government to follow Victoria’s lead and order another lockdown to prevent the outbreak from spiralling out of control.
Gladys Berejiklian says the people of New South Wales will have to accept ‘we are living in a pandemic’ and going to have outbreaks
Tests are carried out at a pop-up COVID-19 clinic on the southwest outskirts of Sydney at Victoria Park in Picton on July 14, 2020
‘Until we have a cure, we have to live with it. We cannot shut down every time we have a cluster of cases,’ Ms Berejiklian told A Current Affair.
‘We cannot keep shutting down, reopening, shutting down and reopening. That is not a good way for us to manage the pandemic because it creates chaos for people.
‘It creates chaos for businesses who are employing people and it makes us lose confidence in the future.’
The state leader said it was ‘unrealistic’ to assume that there would be zero COVID-19 cases in New South Wales.
‘I think what we are going to have to accept during the pandemic is that we are always going to have cases. We are always going to have outbreaks,’ Ms Berejiklian acknowledged.
‘I don’t ever want to be in a situation again where we have to lockdown NSW. We’ve done that, we did it well, we came together and now what we need to do is keep working together.
‘Take the health advice, get tested, stay home … keep everybody safe.’
The number of coronavirus infections linked to the nearby Casula Hotel has now reached 30
Although Ms Berejiklian made it clear she has no intention of shutting down NSW for a second time, she warned that everyone would need to make ‘sacrifices’.
‘I had not hugged my parents for months. That is a decision I have taken because I’m extra careful,’ she said.
‘All of us have to make sacrifices, all of us have to take actions to protect the wider community
‘But we also need to accept that children need to be educated, people have to go to work… we cannot be in lockdown forever and no community could be.’
Her comments come as a leading epidemiologist argued Sydney was less at risk of a large-scale outbreak than Melbourne.
World Health Organisation adviser Professor Mary-Louise McLaws told the ABC there were differences in how the virus is spreading through the respective cities.
‘We had highly interconnected family clustering (in Melbourne). And that clustering was very big, with many people living in high density with close social and family connections,’ she said.
‘Sydney is at less risk than Melbourne.
‘And given that the numbers have been relatively low, I hope they (NSW authorities) will be able to control it.’
Meanwhile, other experts suggested the ‘whole of New South Wales’ should be considered a coronavirus hotspot following the rising number of cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel.
The number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s southwest hit 30 on Tuesday evening
The source of the outbreak has yet to be identified, but it has been confirmed that community transmission from the Victorian outbreak has now reached NSW.
Two men in their 20s were tested after a positive patron from the Crossroads Hotel was found to have visited the nearby Planet Fitness gym – which has been shut for deep cleaning.
Anyone who visited the gym from July 4 to July 10 should self-isolate and get tested immediately.
Australian Medical Association Northern Territory branch president Dr Robert Parker called for all of NSW to be considered a ‘hotspot’.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the investigation demonstrates there is ‘no doubt’ the Victorian outbreak has affected NSW
A cleaner dressed in Personal Protective Equipment is seen leaving the Crossroads Hotel on July 11
He said NSW residents shouldn’t be allowed to enter the NT when it opens up its borders on July 17.
Queensland announced it would ban residents from 77 suburbs in Sydney’s south west from entering the Sunshine State.
But Dr Parker said all of NSW should be prohibited from entering the NT, and not just select postcodes and suburbs.
‘I think it’s very dangerous, we still don’t know the effect of this particular location and because it was a crossroads, and particularly because people were passing through, what the carry-on effect of this is,’ he told the ABC.
The NT will open its borders this Friday to all states and territories, except Victoria, with visitors not required to quarantine upon entry.
Dr Parker said given the state’s growing number of cases, it would be safer to put off allowing NSW residents to enter the NT for the foreseeable future.
‘It’s far safer just to delay NSW for a further week — sure, open up to South Australia, Western Australia, whatever — delay NSW for a further week, just to see what the effect of this particular location is and how far and wide the virus spreads rather than having a fairly confident response,’ he said.
Residents of Liverpool and Campbelltown will be barred from entering Queensland, while Queensland-based visitors will be forced into 14 days of hotel quarantine once they return home
Pictured: The Sydney venues feared to be at the centre of COVID-19 outbreaks
Victoria recorded 270 new cases on Tuesday, tipping total cases nationwide over 10,000, with 21 people on ventilation in intensive care.
NSW has 13 new cases and WA one, a 10-year-old boy in quarantine.
Ms Berejiklian was asked if she would consider locking down the suburbs near the Casula pub after the Queensland government declared Sydney’s Liverpool and Campbelltown local government areas as COVID-19 hotspots.
The NSW premier said the measure wasn’t being considered ‘at this stage’.
Residents of Liverpool and Campbelltown will be barred from entering Queensland, while Queensland-based visitors will be forced into 14 days of hotel quarantine once they return home.
Tests are carried out at a pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic at Victoria Park in Picton, south of Sydney
Ms Berejiklian also announced a tightening of restrictions in response to the Casula outbreak with a limit of 300 people at pubs and hotels, and group bookings to be capped at 10 people.
It will be mandatory for pubs and hotels to download and register the COVID-19 safe plan and take down contact details of all patrons.
Venues with a capacity of more than 250 people will be required to have a full-time marshal on site to enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The changes don’t apply to clubs, restaurants or The Star casino and will come into effect from 12.01am on Friday.
The new changes came a day before the Lake Jindabyne Hotel and Motel, near the Snowy Mountains, was fined $5000 for breaching public health and safety rules.
Police were forced to shut the venue down on Tuesday after issuing three formal and seven informal warnings between July 5 and July 11.
COVID-19 drive through testing clinic at The Crossroads Hotel – where 30 cases have now been linked
Picton Hotel, Planet Fitness gym in Casula, Canterbury Leagues Club, Narellan Town Centre and Zone Bowling in Villawood could be affected by the Crossroads Hotel outbreak. Pictured: tests at a pop-up clinic in Picton, south of Sydney
The warnings were for patrons’ intoxication levels and large groups of people failing to social distance, the Daily Telegraph reports.
The pub will close for three days.
NSW recorded 13 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday with two in hotel quarantine, one a contact of a returned traveller and 10 linked to the Crossroads Hotel.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant on Tuesday said since 3pm on Monday seven additional cases had been confirmed – all linked to the Casula pub. Another case is under investigation.
Police are working with Liquor and Gaming to investigate if the hotel breached any guidelines.
All patrons of the Crossroads Hotel between July 3 to 10 must self-isolate and are being urged to get tested.
One of the cases linked to the hotel is a person who visited the Prestons Lodge Advantaged Care nursing home which has been placed into lockdown.
People wearing face masks are seen at the entrance of the Menarock Life aged care facility, where a cluster of some 28 new infections had been reported, in the Melbourne suburb of Essendon
Another case worked at the Kmart store in Casula Mall on July 10. The employee and all of his coworkers are self-isolating.
Dr Chant said other venues across Sydney may have been exposed to the virus between June 27 and July 10 after visits from people linked to the outbreak.
These include The Star casino in Sydney, Picton Hotel, Planet Fitness gym in Casula, Canterbury Leagues Club, Narellan Town Centre and Zone Bowling in Villawood.
The NSW Australian Hotels Association supports the stricter COVID-19 measures, and chief executive John Whelan said the industry had to do its part in halting the spread of the virus.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Tony Cooke warned businesses that any breaches in public health orders will be treated ‘extremely seriously’.
Police are also ramping up compliance checks with officers making about 300 home visits in the past 24 hours to ensure people who returned from Victoria are self-isolating for 14 days.
Meanwhile, South Australia will delay its border opening with NSW, which was set down for July 20.
Australia’s total coronavirus cases soared to more than 10,000 and the death toll reached 110 on Tuesday.
SYDNEY SUBURBS DECLARED ‘COVID-19 HOTSPOTS’ BY QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT
Bardia, Blair Athol, Blairmont, Bow Bowing, Bradbury
Eagle Vale, Englorie Park, Eschol Park
Gilead, Glen Alpine, Glenfield
Leumeah, Long Point
Macquarie Fields, Macquarie Links, Menangle Park, Minto, Minto Heights
Raby, Rosemeadow, Ruse
St Andrews, St Helens Park
Wedderburn and Woodbine
Badgerys Creek, Bringelly, Busby
Carnes Hill, Cartwright, Casula, Cecil Hills, Cecil Park, Chipping Norton
Edmondson Park, Elizabeth Hills
Greendale, Green Valley
Hammondville, Heckenberg, Hinchinbrook, Holsworthy, Horningsea Park, Hoxton Park
Len Waters Estate, Leppington, Liverpool, Luddenham, Lurnea
Middleton Grange, Miller, Moorebank, Mount Pritchard
Pleasure Point, Prestons,
Wallacia, Warwick Farm, Wattle Grove and West Hoxton