New South Wales will avoid lockdown ‘at all costs,’ Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday.
The premier said she would not force people to stay at home even if the state records more than 200 new daily cases as Victoria has done.
‘We can’t keep going into lockdown and that is something we need to avoid at all costs,’ she told Kyle Sandilands and Jackie Henderson on KISS radio.
Victoria has suffered a triple-digit increase in cases for the past ten days, including 238 new cases on Wednesday.
New South Wales will avoid lockdown ‘at all costs,’ Gladys Berejiklian said today (pictured: Sydney residents enjoying a meal out after restrictions eased in May)
New South Wales recorded 13 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with ten of those cases coming from the Crossroads Hotel outbreak (pictured)
Asked if Sydney would be locked down if it saw the same infection numbers, Ms Berejiklian said: ‘We would avoid that happening.’
With around one million Australians on the dole, the premier is desperate to avoid the economic damage that further lockdowns would bring.
She also ruled out suburb-by-suburb lockdown as tried in North Melbourne and Flemington.
Ms Berejiklian said locking down a suburb where an outbreak happens is ineffective because people who may have been infected there travel ‘all over Sydney’.
‘It’s all or nothing. You can’t lockdown a suburb, because [people who have passed through] live elsewhere,’ she said.
Health officials are trying to control an outbreak linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, south-west Sydney.
The outbreak is understood to have began when an infected freight driver, known as Patient Zero, went to a work party at the pub after driving from Melbourne.
But Ms Berejiklian said her concern was that community transmission was happening before the border shut down, without being picked up on.
Ms Berejiklian wants to avoid having to shut down gyms (pictured in Sydney on Monday) and other businesses even if virus cases continue to grow
‘Our case numbers are relatively low but what we don’t know is if there was community spread months ago when people from Sydney and Melbourne were moving in and out.
‘Things can get out of control very quickly,’ she warned.
The premier said Victorian officials failed to spot community transmission was happening before it was too late.
‘They didn’t pick it up early enough. People who should have stayed at home didn’t know they had to stay at home or didn’t stay at home and then that spreads through the community
‘We’re hoping that hasn’t happened here in New South Wales.’
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant on Wednesday said there were 34 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel, with at least 20 of them patrons.
Two of the 34 cases to date are ‘tertiary’ cases, or contacts of contacts.
Pictured: The Crossroads Hotel in Casula, in Sydney’s south-west which has become a coronavirus cluster
Medical workers are seen giving coronavirus tests in Sydney’s Bondi on Tuesday (pictured) amid fears the Melbourne outbreak may spread to NSW
Dr Chant said this highlights how rapidly coronavirus can spread, describing it as a ‘stealthy’ virus.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told residents not to expect the state to frequently have zero COVID-19 cases as the virus can bubble away under the surface for some time.
‘This virus will continue to transmit lowly through the community and from time to time we can fully expect (this),’ he told reporters.
NSW Health has also named several venues where confirmed COVID-19 cases spent time including the YMCA at Revesby, Wests Leagues Club at Leumeah, Macarthur Tavern in Campbelltown and Casula Kmart.
The Milky Lane burger joint in Parramatta and the Bavarian Macarthur restaurant in Campbelltown were later added to the list as well as Woolworths in Bowral.
The state reported 13 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, with only three of them unconnected to the hotel.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant told reporters any staff and patrons who attended Planet Fitness between July 4 and July 10 are now considered close contacts