Covid 19 coronavirus: Sydney records 97 new community cases; NSW Govt mulls tougher lockdown restrictions

New South Wales has recorded 97 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases today, 29 of which were infectious whilst in the community.

This brings the total number of active cases in NSW to 1026.

Nine reporter Chris O’Keefe earlier suggested today’s cases would be “pretty close to 100”, reporting the NSW government held meetings yesterday about a potential hardening of restrictions.

The state recorded 65 new cases yesterday, 28 of which were infectious in the community.

“That number of people being infectious in the community keeps going up,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said this afternoon. “We really want to stress to everybody, please stay at home, follow the orders.

“Don’t move around, don’t go shopping, don’t do anything unless you really have to. This weekend it will be fine weather so please stay safe when you are exercising.”

There are now 75 NSW Covid-19 patients in hospital. Eighteen of them are in intensive care and five require ventilation.

The state government’s reported meeting over lockdown restrictions follows growing calls from infectious disease experts to introduce a lockdown similar to the one in Melbourne last year.

Modelling from the Burnet Institute has predicted Greater Sydney would still be seeing more than 40 cases a day until September if the current restrictions are kept in place.

The modelling shows introducing stricter Stage 4 restrictions, such as a 5km travel limit and defining what constitutes essential work, is the fastest way to get the outbreak under control.

The NSW government has previously floated the idea of introducing tougher restrictions for high-risk parts of Sydney, such as the southwest, where the majority of cases are being transmitted.

New Zealand paused quarantine-free travel with NSW at the end of June. Repatriation flights from NSW were paused on July 9 and restarted – with an MIQ stay on arrival – on July 12.

Demand for the flights has been high and some Kiwi travellers are still stuck on the other side of the Tasman.

Six new community cases in Victoria

Victoria recorded six new local Covid-19 cases overnight as the state entered its fifth lockdown.

All are linked to known cases, and the new infections bring the state’s current outbreak to 24.

The news comes after hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets in Melbourne’s CBD last night, just hours after Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state would enter a five-day snap lockdown from midnight.

Quarantine-free travel from Victoria to New Zealand was paused from 1.59am (NZT) on Friday.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the decision followed updated public health advice from New Zealand officials and a growing number of cases and locations of interest.

The pause would run for at least four days from 1.59am (NZT) July 16 and be subject to further review on Monday.

On Wednesday, Hipkins said Kiwis in Melbourne worried the Victoria travel bubble could be paused should come home as soon as possible.

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