NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian insists lockdown not needed despite virus spread

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday said NSW would not go into lockdown despite the number of COVID-19 infections linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney's south-west climbing 30.
Camera IconNSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday said NSW would not go into lockdown despite the number of COVID-19 infections linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney's south-west climbing 30. Credit: JAMES GOURLEY/AAPIMAGE

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says NSW residents need to accept 'we are living in a pandemic' and has insisted the state 'can't shutdown every time we have a cluster'.

The premier on Tuesday said NSW would not go into lockdown despite the number of COVID-19 infections linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney's south-west climbing 30.

Pressure has mounted on the NSW government to follow Victoria's lockdown lead to to stop the outbreak from spiralling out of control.

'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.'

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was 'unrealistic' to assume that there would be zero COVID-19 cases in New South Wales
Camera IconNSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was 'unrealistic' to assume that there would be zero COVID-19 cases in New South Wales Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE

Ms Berejiklian 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,' she 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.'

BLM protest virus cases linked to Melbourne tower outbreak

Two protesters who attended the Black Lives Matter rally have had their COVID-19 cases linked to the outbreak in Melbourne’s public housing towers.

Health authorities have confirmed the link without saying if the protesters lived, visited or were close contacts of those in the towers, The Australian reports.

The public housing cluster has seen at least 242 cases.

A woman looks out a window from a locked-down public housing tower in Melbourne.
Camera IconA woman looks out a window from a locked-down public housing tower in Melbourne. Credit: Andy Brownbill/AP

NSW pub cluster link in Victoria confirmed

A COVID-19 cluster from a pub in Sydney’s southwest continues to grow, with genomic testing indicating the virus strain emanated from Victoria.

Of the 30 cases linked so far to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, 14 are people who attended the pub.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Wednesday confirmed genomic testing of the virus circulating in Casula found links to a strain from Victoria, where hundreds of new COVID-19 cases are being reported each day.

“It’s not a virus which has been transmitted through the community because something has occurred here,” Mr Barilaro told the Seven Network.

“There is no question the virus has come from Victoria. We don’t know where that’s seeded, we have been doing the contact tracing.”

NSW Health workers dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are seen administering COVID-19 tests to people in their cars at the Crossroads Hotel.
Camera IconNSW Health workers dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are seen administering COVID-19 tests to people in their cars at the Crossroads Hotel. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE

The intensive care capacity in NSW hospitals had almost quadrupled since the early stages of the pandemic, which has killed 51 people in the state.

Meanwhile a southwest Sydney pizza restaurant is closing for three days for deep cleaning after a customer tested positive for COVID-19.

Mancini’s Original Woodfired Pizza at Belfield said NSW Health had deemed the case a low risk to staff as the male customer was there for about an hour last Friday and stayed within his group.

NSW Health reported 13 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday, with 10 linked to the Crossroads Hotel.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant on Tuesday said seven additional cases had since 3pm on Monday been confirmed - all linked to the Casula pub.

In a statement later on Tuesday NSW Health said two further cases had been confirmed, both at the Planet Fitness gym in Casula.

The department is urging anyone who visited the gym between July 4 and 10 to self-isolate and come forward for testing.

Both cases, men aged in their 20s, came forward for testing after it was established a case from the Crossroads Hotel visited the gym.

NSW Health workers dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) holds a COVID-19 test at the Crossroads Hotel testing centre in Sydney.
Camera IconNSW Health workers dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) holds a COVID-19 test at the Crossroads Hotel testing centre in Sydney. Credit: BIANCA DE MARCHI/AAPIMAGE

Police are working with Liquor and Gaming to investigate if the hotel breached any guidelines. All patrons of the Crossroads Hotel from 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.

Another case worked at the Kmart store in Casula Mall on July 10.

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.

Ms Berejiklian also on Tuesday announced a tightening of restrictions for pubs and hotels, including a cap of 300 patrons and mandatory sign-ins. Those restrictions will come into effect from Friday.

Five million face masks for frontline workers

An extra five million face masks will be given to health workers, aged care staff and pharmacists as the number of coronavirus cases in Australia tops 10,000.

The outbreak in Victoria continues to climb, with 270 new cases recorded on Tuesday.

Another two people died in the state, bringing the national toll to 110.

Health authorities are concerned that more than a quarter of people who have been hospitalised with the virus are in intensive care, with 21 needing ventilation in Victoria.

“Clearly if we continue to see community transmission we will see more older people, more people who are at serious risk if they contract COVID-19, being hospitalised,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd told reporters.

Healthcare workers conduct COVID-19 tests at a drive-through testing centre in Rozelle, Sydney.
Camera IconHealthcare workers conduct COVID-19 tests at a drive-through testing centre in Rozelle, Sydney. Credit: JAMES GOURLEY/AAPIMAGE

He said all aged and home care workers in Victoria should wear surgical masks while at work.

Melburnians have previously been advised they should wear face masks outside of their homes if they are in situations where social distancing is not possible, such as on public transport or busy supermarkets.

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who lives in Sydney, said he was wearing a mask when in a “crowded situation” but was mostly avoiding crowds.

Pubs will be allowed a maximum of 300 guests and group bookings will be capped at 10 people.

Venues will also be required to record contact details of every patron, rather than just the person who made the booking.

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