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The situation in NSW is going to get worse

by John McDonnell

People in NSW don’t seem to realise how dangerous the outbreak of the delta virus is. On the weekend they were still queueing at the local bakeries to buy croissants, visiting Harvey Norman to buy furniture or hanging out at card games while not wearing masks or social distancing. As a result, on Sunday there were 77 new cases recorded and one death.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian says the numbers are going to get worse. She says the numbers are likely to exceed 100 on Monday. It is unlikely the lockdown will end next Friday: it is more likely that further restrictions will be imposed.

"I can't stress enough that every time we risk breaking the rules or even just going about our business and not getting tested when we need to, the people whose lives and health that we're risking the most are those closest to us", Ms Berejiklian said at her Sunday press conference.

The Premier said she expected a marked increase in the numbers in the next 24 hours.

"I'm anticipating the numbers in New South Wales will be greater than 100 tomorrow. Now, that's what I'm anticipating.

"And I'll be shocked if it's less than 100 this time tomorrow, of additional new cases."

As a result, she warned that the lockdown could be extended beyond July 16.

"Given where we're at and given the lockdown was supposed to be lifted on Friday, everybody can tell it's highly unlikely at this stage, given where the numbers are.

"We've always been up-front about that."

The premier blamed tradies and other essential workers for the spread of the disease.

"Unfortunately, we've seen a number of cases in people doing essential work at multiple sites and then spreading the disease through work exposure and then those colleagues going home and spreading it to their loved ones."

NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Warboys said 106 infringement notices were issued by police in the last 24 hours.

Police attended a small unit at Marrickville in Sydney's inner west where they found 15 men playing cards.

"These men were in their 50s, through to just short of 90 years of age, no masks, no social distancing, clearly in an environment that was a huge risk to them, their families and their community,"

Deputy Commissioner Warboys said.

Police were also called to a home near Sydney Olympic Park, where an 18th birthday party was taking place. There were 10 people at the party.

On Sunday morning the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese appeared on ABC’s Insiders programme, where he blamed Scott Morrison for the outbreak in Sydney because of the poor vaccination rate and the lack of purpose-built quarantine. Asked by Insiders host, David Speers what level of vaccination would be necessary to end lockdowns, Albanese said he didn’t deal in hypotheticals.

Pressed by Speers, who pointed out that the UK, which had a high level of vaccination coverage still had thousands of new infections and many deaths, the opposition leader said he would be guided by the medical experts.

He was also coy on how he would achieve additional supplies of the Pfizer vaccine in the current circumstances. He said Mexico and Canada had obtained additional doses from the US stockpile. When Speers pointed out that these countries were in a much worse situation than Australia (and share a border with the USA), Mr Albanese simply reiterated that they had got additional vaccines.

It was not a great interview for the Labor leader, who is long on slogans and short on substance.


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