Leaders from western and southwestern Sydney have welcomed the NSW Government’s decision to end curfews in COVID-19 hotspot areas.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday that the call had been made possible by the state, which crosses the 80 percent first-dose vaccination threshold.
That’s the only constraint she plans to ease for the hotspot suburbs of the city’s west and southwest for now, though.
“We need everyone to keep the line,” she told reporters.
“We have seen a stabilization in the last few days and we do not want to see the trend go the wrong way.”
The decision to drop the 21-day curfew came the day after the prime minister met with mayors in the 12 affected local government areas – though she did not warn them that it was on its way.
They thanked her for the respite.
Penrith Mayor Karen McKeown said she had directly appealed to the Prime Minister to ease the curfew.
But she urged Mrs Berejiklian to go a step further and reconsider whether suburbs with low case numbers should be subject to stricter restrictions.
Similarly, Burwood Mayor John Faker said the lifting of the curfew was a welcome relief, but it was “debatable” whether Burwood should be on the hotspot list at all.
“The curfew was never about health, it was always an enforcement tool,” Faker said.
He said the prime minister’s failure to warn mayors that the decision was on the way demonstrated a “disgust (for) transparency and accountability throughout this crisis”.
Liverpool Mayor Wendy Waller said the government’s decision showed it was listening, but it had to do more to “stem the growing gap between south-west and west and other parts of Sydney”.
The government recognized in implementing the curfew that it would have minimal effect on COVID-19 transmission and was more useful as a tool for police compliance with lockdown compliance.
The future of locked southwest and western Sydney was debated on Wednesday during a two-hour economic recovery summit hosted by the NSW opposition.
The summit heard that confusion and fears over vaccination rules and exposure risks plague NSW companies that want more clarity.
Companies also said they needed help designing and complying with new COVID-safe plans given the virulence of the Delta strain.
The state reported 1259 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths within 24 hours to 8 p.m. Tuesday.
The 12 deaths included one woman in her 30s, two people in her 50s, three people in her 60s, three people in her 70s, two people in her 80s and a man in her 90s.
That brings the death toll from the current outbreak to 198.
Berejiklian made it clear that the government would stick to and ban the unvaccinated from restored freedoms by 70 percent.
“With 70 percent, we’re been clear and extremely black and white … it will be a health ordinance and the law that if you are not vaccinated, you can not attend venues on the roadmap,” she told reporters. .
“We are reviewing compliance issues now (but) there is an onus on you as a person to be vaccinated and it will depend on the size of the company.
“If you are not vaccinated, you can not go to a restaurant, to a cafe.”
There are 1241 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 234 in intensive care and 108 in ventilators.
Meanwhile, the Lismore area in the north of the state is on high alert after a positive case was found in the area.
The person went to a school in Goonellabah on Monday, authorities said.
The northern rivers region has been released from lockout since Friday.
Australian Associated Press