Sydney faces lockdown threat over mystery cases
The number of mystery cases of coronavirus
in Sydney will dictate if the NSW Premier will enforce a lockdown as Sydney wakes to the harshest restrictions since the Northern Beaches outbreak over Christmas.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian stopped short of enforcing a full lockdown in Sydney when the Bondi cluster grew to 31 yesterday
, but said she "will not hesitate to go further and harder if we have to".
Four cases reported yesterday are still under investigation and Professor Jane Halton, Chair of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness, told Today further restrictions could be brought in if that number rises.
"It will be the number of cases of unknown origin," Professor Halton said.
"Most of the people who are being diagnosed in the last day or so actually were already in isolation or were known in terms of where they had contracted this illness.
"If they have an increase in the number of cases of unknown origin, and the premier has already signalled this, she will do whatever is necessary.
"She's made a judgment that she doesn't want to go instantly to lockdown, but she's clearly got that on the list of options and there is no doubt in my mind, if this keeps going with unknown origin cases, she will probably have to use that option."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed NSW's new restrictions.
"I think the approach that she is taking the right one. They are sensible pre-restrictions that are being put in place and they are affecting people right across Sydney," Mr Morrison said.
"Everybody knows to get out of this current situation we have to follow those rules and I have no doubt that the NSW Government will ease those restrictions the second they can."
NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard told Today he is currently in isolation after he woke up this morning to a message from NSW Health advising him he may be a close contact of a possible COVID-19 case.
NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has tested positive to COVID-19.
Mr Hazzard said the NSW COVID-19 update will still go ahead at 11am.
"I certainly expect the Premier will be doing it if I am not able to do it at that stage," Mr Hazzard said.
"We can expect more numbers but I don't think they will be dramatic but we will see how it plays out today.
"I think the community is doing what we asked them to do."
Rules that have only been seen in Melbourne have been now introduced in Sydney in a bid to thwart the spread of the Delta variant in the city.
Masks must be work in offices and other indoor workplaces for the first time in the city.
People who live or work in the council areas of City of Sydney, Waverley, Randwick, Canada Bay, Inner West, Bayside and Woollahra are forbidden to leave Sydney for the next seven days unless it's essential.
They can, however, leave to visit a relative in care or to go to work.
In Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Shellharbour, no more than five visitors, including children, will be allowed in a home.
A total of 16 new cases were reported yesterday, with four remaining a mystery.