As COVID-19 cases have continued to grow across New South Wales in recent days — including 681 new cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, August 18 — those figures have included increasing numbers in regional parts of the state. As a result, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the the statewide lockdown that first came into effect on Saturday, August 14 will now continue until at least Saturday, August 28.
That extension puts the entire state on the same lockdown timeline as the Greater Sydney region, which has been in lockdown since late June. At present, stay-at-home conditions are slated to end at 12.01am on Saturday, August 28; however, obviously case numbers between now and then will influence whether that actually happens. The Premier has also said that once NSW reaches six million vaccinations, some rules may loosen for folks who’ve had the jab — again, depending on case numbers.
At the state’s daily COVID-19 press conference, western NSW was named as a particular area of concern, with 25 new cases reported in the area in the latest numbers, and the total tally now up to 167. “This is why it is right to stay in front of the curve, in front of the spread, and keep regional rural New South Wales in lockdown,” said NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro.
Due to ongoing concerns about community transmission, stay-at-home orders in place for regional NSW will be extended until at least 12.01am on 28 August, in line with existing orders for the Greater Sydney area.
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) August 19, 2021
Under the rules for regional NSW, everyone is required to remain at home unless they have a reasonable excuse to leave, just like in Greater Sydney. Work is a permitted reason to head out of your house, but only if it is not practicable to do your job from home.
Also, no visitors from outside your household are allowed to come to your home, including family and friends — other than for very select reasons. So, regional NSW residents can only have one person over at one time, and only to fulfil carers’ responsibilities, for care or assistance, or compassionate reasons, the latter of which covers people who are in a relationship but don’t live together.
Also in effect: the closure of all hospitality venues other than for takeaways, and the closure of retail premises except for a small list that sell essentials. Supermarkets and grocery stores, other shops that mainly sell food or drinks to consume at home, chemists and pharmacies, kiosks, and places that primarily sell office supplies, pet supplies, newspapers, magazines and stationery, alcohol, maternity and baby supplies, and medical or pharmaceutical supplies can remain open, as can places that sell hardware, building and landscaping supplies, and timber, garden and plant items. Vehicle hire places, mobile phone repairs shops, service stations, banks, post offices, laundromats and dry cleaners can also stay open.
Anyone who leaves their home must carry a mask with them at all times, too — and they must be worn in most situations. So, that means masking up in all indoor venues outside of your own home, while working outdoors, in outdoor markets and at outdoor shopping strips, and while lining up outside to pick up products like coffee and food.
NSW recorded 681 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night
Of these locally acquired cases, 170 linked to a known case or cluster – 149 are household contacts & 21 are close contacts – & the source of infection for 511 cases is under investigation pic.twitter.com/kyq5RDvGzE
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) August 19, 2021
As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, NSW residents are also asked to continue to frequently check NSW Health’s long list of locations and venues that positive coronavirus cases have visited. If you’ve been to anywhere listed on the specific dates and times, you’ll need to get tested immediately and follow NSW Health’s self-isolation instructions.
In terms of symptoms, you should be looking out for coughs, fever, sore or scratchy throat, shortness of breath, or loss of smell or taste — and getting tested at a clinic if you have any.
The entire state of New South Wales will remain in lockdown until at least 12.01am on Saturday, August 28. For more information about the status of COVID-19 in NSW, head to the NSW Health website.
Top image: Mattinbgn via Wikimedia Commons.
Published on August 19, 2021 by Sarah Ward