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NSW Sydney City Waverley Woollahra Randwick avoids lockdown for millions

Gladys Berejiklian has resisted calls to lock down the whole of Sydney and NSW on Friday and instead shut down four local government areas, preserving freedom for at least seven million Australians.  

Throughout the pandemic the NSW premier has tried to keep businesses open and the economy functioning while her counterparts in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia have repeatedly shut down their entire states over just a handful of localised cases. 

And after 22 new cases of the India Delta variant were recorded on Friday, the head of the Australian Medical Association again demanded the whole of Sydney be locked down.

The calls for a Sydney wide lockdown by AMA president, Omar Khorshid, were duly picked up and given prominence by several of Australia’s biggest news websites, many of which have consistently run a pro-lockdown agenda throughout the entire pandemic. 

Berejiklian’s determination to stare down the hysterical pro-lockdown advocates has even quietly earned her comparisons to British PM, Margaret Thatcher, who was known as the Iron Lady for her uncompromising leadership in the face of pressure.

The lockdown applies to residents who live or have worked part-time or full-time in the hotspot suburbs (pictured) in the past two weeks 

Aaron Henderson-Smith, Emergency Nurse, conducts a COVID-19 swab test at the Rushcutters Bay mobile covid testing clinic on June 25

Aaron Henderson-Smith, Emergency Nurse, conducts a COVID-19 swab test at the Rushcutters Bay mobile covid testing clinic on June 25

Berejiklian has steadfastly stuck to her proportionate approach, imposing stay-at-home orders only on the worst-affected areas: Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and the City of Sydney.

The lockdown still takes in almost a million people – including about 500,000 who work in the CBD – but millions more have been spared, for now. 

The premier’s approach is in stark contrast to the Victorian government. 

On 27 May Acting Premier James Merlino locked down the whole state over just 26 cases, all of which were in Melbourne. 

Victorians were ordered to stay within five kilometres of their home and were banned from exercising with more than one person and for more than two hours.

Even those in lockdown in New South Wales can exercise for as long as they like with up to ten people – and Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant encouraged people to gather outside to preserve their mental and physical health.

There is also no ridiculous rules – such as wearing a face mask outside – and both the premier, her ministers and Dr Chant have been careful not to use sensationalist language.

Ms Berejiklian is pictured on Friday

Ms Berejiklian has been compared to former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (pictured)

Two ladies not for turning: Gladys Berejiklian’s strong defence of personal freedom during the pandemic has earned her comparisons to uncompromising former UK PM Margaret Thatcher

Melbourne's shut down was aggressively enforced by police who even tackled and handcuffed unmasked citizens. Pictured: Victoria Police in August 2020

Melbourne’s shut down was aggressively enforced by police who even tackled and handcuffed unmasked citizens. Pictured: Victoria Police in August 2020

‘We are allowing them to be outdoors in groups of up to 10 and we encourage that because we are understanding of the impact this is going to have,’ Dr Chant said. 

Her calm demeanour and rational approach offers a strong contrast to Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton who was slammed by fearmongering by describing the virus as a ‘beast’. 

Following the one-week lockdown of Victoria, Melbourne was shut down for a further seven days, pushing businesses to the brink almost a year after they were was shut for three months as the state Labor government used draconian restrictions to drive cases down to zero. 

Victorians can see the contrast between New South Wales and our State Government 

Victorian MP James Newbury 

The shut-down was aggressively enforced by police who even tackled and handcuffed unmasked citizens in the street in scenes reminiscent of a dystopian fiction that shocked the rest of the nation.

The Victorian Liberal-National Opposition has admired Ms Berejiklian’s approach and watched on jealously as she keeps her state largely open and citizens free.

Victorian Liberal MP James Newbury told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Victorians can see the contrast between New South Wales and our State Government.

‘Our neighbour knows the best way to manage the virus is to do so appropriately and proportionately.

‘By contrast, Victoria has a lockdown Labor Government whose knee-jerk response to cases is to lock up almost seven million Victorians, ignoring the catastrophic social or economic costs of statewide lockdowns.

‘Labor is inept and Victorians have woken up to it.’ 

Pictured: A Christo's pizza customer

This is the text received by Upper House member Ben Franlin at 11.51pm on Tuesday

Four politicians who checked in to a pizza restaurant (left) using the QR code system were told just 24 hours later that they were close contacts of a positive case. Right: This is the text received by Upper House member Ben Franlin at 11.51pm on Tuesday

Prime Minister Scott Morrison also said Ms Berejiklian was ‘taking the right approach’ by not favouring lockdown.

‘I think the approach that she is taking is the right one. There are sensible restrictions that are being put in place and they are affecting people right across Sydney,’ he said on Thursday.  

The premier has previously described locking down as ‘easy’ and made it her mission to keep businesses alive and the economy functioning.  

She has mandated masks and limited household visitors but kept gyms, bars and restaurants open with stricter capacity constraints.

Her strategy of keeping the economy running while largely containing the virus has been made possible by what she calls ‘the best contact tracers on the planet’.

What are the lockdown rules? 

From 11:59 tonight, people who live or have worked part-time or full time in the past two weeks in Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and the City of Sydney will only be able to leave home for:

  • Work if you can’t work from home
  • Exercise in groups of 10 or less outdoors
  • Education if it can’t be done from home
  • To buy essential goods or services
  • To provide essential care to someone  

Non-essential businesses in those areas will be shut down for the next week. Restaurants can supply take-away food.

Full list of exposure sites is here  

As soon as a case is identified, officials order the patient to isolate and conduct an interview to find out where they have been to identify any close contacts.

The crack team is helped by the state’s mandatory uniform QR code check-in system, which has been in place since January, allowing tracers to immediately identify and text patrons who visited a venue at the same time as a patient.

The system worked perfectly when four state politicians who dined in a pizza restaurant on Monday were texted just 24 hours later to be told a positive case was in the venue at the time.

One of them, Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall, tested positive but had only been in the community for a day before isolating, thereby reducing the potential spread. 

‘We have the best contact tracers, I believe, on the planet,’ Ms Berejiklian said on Thursday.

‘Yes I am biased, I am the premier, but I know what they have uncovered in the past few days and the rapidity of how quickly they have identified cases.’  

In March Queensland Labor premier Annastacia Palaszczuk locked down Brisbane for three days over seven cases and in April Western Australian leader Mark McGowan shut down Perth and the Peel region over just one case.

In a savage swipe at the other premiers, New South Wales chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said her state has not needed to do this because it has not fallen ‘behind’ on its contact tracing. 

WHICH SUBURBS ARE LOCKED DOWN? 

CITY OF SYDNEY

Alexandria

 

Explaining why she did not consider imposing a three-day lockdown, she said: ‘If you have a look at the reasons for the three days, it is to pause where you are.

‘You have a sudden surge of cases and you want everybody to stay in the same place, and that allows you to get through any backlog of any contact tracing,’ Dr Chant explained. 

‘We are not that situation where we are not getting to people in terms of the contact tracing.’ 

Sydney residents who live or work in Woollahra, Waverley, Randwick and the City of Sydney have been locked down from 11.59pm tonight for a week until Saturday July 3.

Gladys Berejiklian imposed the draconian stay-at-home orders on Friday morning after the state recorded 11 new local Covid-19 cases with a further 17 to be included in tomorrow’s numbers.

Six of the eleven cases recorded on Friday were mentioned on Thursday, meaning there are 22 cases that have not been revealed before. 

The so-called ‘Bondi cluster’ now numbers 65 cases of the Indian Delta variant but only one person in the whole country is in intensive care with Covid-19. 

All of the new cases are linked to others except for three including a nine-year-old school student. 

The lockdown applies to residents who live or have worked part-time or full-time in the hotspot suburbs in the past two weeks.

Residents and visitors to the Eastern suburbs continue to get tested for COVID-19 at St Vincent's Hospital pop-up testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney on Friday

Residents and visitors to the Eastern suburbs continue to get tested for COVID-19 at St Vincent’s Hospital pop-up testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney on Friday

They are only allowed outside for work, education, essential shopping, care-giving and exercise in groups of ten or less. 

‘If you live or work in those Local Government Areas, you need to stay at home unless absolutely necessary,’ Ms Berejiklian said. 

Non-essential businesses in those areas will be shut down for the next week. Restaurants can supply take-away food. 

Other residents in Greater Sydney will have to wear masks indoors and limit household visitors to five until Saturday July 3. 

Residents who live or work in the City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside, and Woollahra local government areas cannot travel outside metropolitan Sydney for non-essential reasons. 

Ms Berejiklian warned that further measures may be required but said she did not want to lock down more suburbs.

‘There will be things that come up in the next little while that none of us had anticipated and we will have to react and respond. 

‘We are not ever going to pretend that what we have in place is enough, or what we have in place is perfect,’ she said.

Sydneysiders queue outside a vaccination centre on June 24 as they wait to get their jabs

Sydneysiders queue outside a vaccination centre on June 24 as they wait to get their jabs

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