There was little sign of concern among residents in three Sydney areas that have been warned they could face tougher restrictions if cases continue to spike.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was forced to extend a two-week lockdown in Sydney yesterday and issued a warning to the local government areas of Liverpool, Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown — which encompasses 110 suburbs — that cases were expected to grow to a worrying number tomorrow.
She has urged people to stay at home, to keep shopping to a minimum and to avoid visiting family, with growing cases in the area contributing to an extension of Sydney’s lockdown.
Despite the strong message, photos taken on Wednesday show many residents in Fairfield appeared unaware of the Premier’s words and there was little social distancing outside shops.
People were pictured gathering in parks and wearing their masks below their noses.
While masks are not required outdoors, they are strongly recommended when people are unable to socially distance.
The Premier refused to rule out increasing restrictions for the three local government areas (LGAs), all located in western Sydney, warning that cases tomorrow were expected to be higher than the 27 reported today.
“I can foreshadow overnight that we’ve had a number of cases, more than we would like to have seen,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“So I’m anticipating that tomorrow’s number will be higher than what we have seen today but they are at the moment concentrated in three local government areas.”
Ms Berejiklian earlier said she was reluctant to increase restrictions in the three LGAs, but there was no denying the statistics were “concerning”.
“The NSW government doesn’t want to go to the next stage but we are even considering if there are any further actions we need to take in those three local government areas,” she said.
“Can I just stress, you might think you are doing the right thing by visiting loved one, you might think you are doing the right thing by babysitting other’s children or whatever but the key message in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas is please do not leave the house.”
Ms Berejiklian said health authorities were considering what steps could slow cases in the three regions.
“Health will consider that advice but a next step could be limiting even further movement through the health orders,” the premier said.
“At the moment, obviously, we have broad rules as to why people are allowed to leave the house and allowed to exercise, but if we need to, Health may provide advice on further restriction of movement in those communities.
“But that’s yet to be determined. I only foreshadow that to highlight how concerned Health is and how concerned we are about those three geographic locations and the way the virus is spreading.”
Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant built on the premier’s call for residents in southwestern Sydney to make sure they are following the lockdown restrictions.
“Do not visit loved ones. Try and engage through digital means. Try and avoid any unnecessary contact with other additional households and please limit your movements into any indoor environments. So only have one person go and get the shopping,” she said.
“As the Premier has indicated, if you have got enough food, don’t leave the house at this time. This will allow our contact tracers to identify people that may have been exposed so that we can reduce the number of unknown people in the community.
“Keep your distance, make sure you are wearing those masks and again I would urge you, yourself, to minimise your movements in that community.”