The Federal Government has declared seven local government areas within Greater Sydney as Covid-19 Hotspots for the purposes of Commonwealth support. This applies for an initial period of seven days to the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, made the announcement in the wake of the confirmation by New South Wales that it has over 30 cases in metropolitan Sydney, including cases who visited Wollongong and one case that flew to New Zealand.
Whole genome sequencing has confirmed cases to have been infected with the Delta variant. This is believed to have a higher rate of transmission, resulting in the need for more stringent public health measures to control a community outbreak if it becomes established.
Exposure sites visited by infected people have been listed
“There have been many exposure sites where [people who have been infected] have visited during their infectious period, and those have been listed on the New South Wales Government’s website,” the national Department of Health said in a statement.
“Due to the increased risk posed by the Delta variant, and cases having been in the community while infectious, the Commonwealth has offered the New South Wales Government its support and assistance.”
Among other things, being listed as a Hotspot allows access to the Temporary Covid Disaster Payment if eligibility criteria are met, reprioritisation of vaccine supplies, Federal assistance with contact tracing, and supply of PPE from the National Medical Stockpile.
Travel ban and a range of other restrictions announced
Yesterday (Wednesday) NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a number of new restrictions for Greater Sydney and surrounds. Among these are a ban on travelling outside the city for the next seven days.
Other new restrictions include a limit of five visitors to homes, the reintroduction of more stringent social distancing rules in hospitality venues, indoor mask-wearing at venues including workplaces, masks at gym classes which will now be limited to 20 people, dancefloor numbers at weddings being limited to 20 people, and sports stadiums being limited to 50 percent capacity.
“I am not ruling out any further action, but I am also confident that if we adhere to the health orders today, we will have a good chance of getting on top of this outbreak,” the Premier said.
States and territories have now moved to close their borders to people travelling from New South Wales.