New South Wales (NSW) Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant has made an impassioned plea for people to be truthful with contact tracers after the premier said the “vast majority” of Sydney’s 50 new CCP virus cases were being obstructive.
“We know that everyone is human and makes poor decisions at certain times, but please don’t compound that initial mistake by not telling us the truth the first time,” Chant said.
“At the moment, as we’re trying to get ahead of the spread of the virus, we haven’t got time to waste unpicking stories, going back and cross-checking and verifying.”
This comes as NSW Health recorded 50 new locally acquired CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Friday, “most concerningly” including 26 who were infectious in the community. The CCP virus is commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
“That’s the number we need to get down to as close to zero as possible,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklean told reporters on Saturday.
“The only conclusion we can draw is that things are going to get worse before they get better,” she added.
The number of new cases who were in the community for all or part of their infectious period prompted Berejiklian to again warn that the lockdown will likely be extended.
She again appealed for Sydneysiders to stop bending the lockdown rules, citing at least two people who police caught holding illegal gatherings overnight.
“The vast majority of those (new) cases—and I can’t stress this enough—are close family or friends of people who have COVID,” she said.
She added, “If you truly love your parents, your sisters, your best friends, please stick to the rules.”
Police handed out 167 fines or infringement notices to people over the past day, including 67 in south-western Sydney and about a dozen in the state’s north.
The premier stressed that for the lockdown to be effective in a shorter timeframe that everyone had to “work together to do the right thing” and she encouraged people to hold one another accountable.
“Cutting corners, flouting the rules is going to prolong the lockdown, and that’s the last thing any of us want to see,” the premier said.
This comes as the premier announced tough new restrictions on Friday, saying that a premature reopening of Greater Sydney would result in thousands of COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths.
The new rules, limiting exercise to groups of two and banning browsing at shops, came into effect as the state’s health department on Friday issued more alerts for retail stores across Sydney.
Among them are Woolworths stores in Mascot and Ashfield, Aldi stores in Hoxton Park, Quakers Hill and Ashfield, a Beacon Lighting shop in Bankstown, and KFC in Rockdale.
Several places are listed as close contact exposure sites for periods of seven hours or longer.
They include an Ikea at Tempe, where a staffer worked whilst infectious, and a construction site at Homebush.
Seven furniture stores along the same road in Campbelltown have also been identified as venues of concern for visitors on Sunday afternoon.
The new restrictions also permit only one person per household to leave the home for shopping each day, and limit funerals to 10 people.
AAP contributed to this report.