Scott Morrison has defended Gladys Berejiklian’s move to lock down Sydney’s northern beaches, while urging Australians not to become complacent.
New South Wales recorded another 30 COVID-19 cases on Sunday, with 28 linked to the cluster on Sydney’s northern beaches, bringing the total to 70.
In an address to the nation on Sunday night, the prime minister reminded Australians that the virus ‘hasn’t gone anywhere’.
‘As people are coming together at Christmas, it’s a reminder that we can’t be complacent. The virus hasn’t gone anywhere. We still need to be on alert,’ he said.
Mr Morrison said he backed state and territory leaders’ decisions to slam their borders shut.
In an address to the nation on Sunday night, the prime minister reminded Australians that the virus ‘hasn’t gone anywhere’
The total number of known coronavirus cases in NSW has now risen to 70, though the state’s premier remained optimistic about containing the outbreak. Pictured: a testing clinic in Brookvale
Western Australia has banned all NSW residents from visiting from midnight on Sunday, while South Australia, ACT, the NT and Tasmania have similar rules requiring Sydneysiders to quarantine for 14 days.
‘The COVID-19 outbreak in the Northern Beaches is, of course, a serious issue,’ Mr Morrison said.
‘It’s not the first outbreak we’ve seen. There have been many, not just in New South Wales, but other states and territories.
‘Over the course of this year, significant contact tracing and testing regimes have been built up to deal with situations just like this.’
Mr Morrison thanked health officials for working tirelessly to contain the outbreak in the northern beaches.
‘That’s why the Premier has put in place the controls in terms of wearing of masks and restricting movement, particularly over the next few days, and especially there in the northern beaches, in the northern parts of Sydney, where particular restrictions are being put in place,’ he said.
He also heaped praise on northern beaches residents for taking their lockdown seriously.
Locals are only allowed to leave their homes for exercise, shopping for essentials, work or providing medical care.
‘I know that they’re looking to see these things change in the not too distant future and they know that that compliance can only help with getting that outcome,’ he said.
Mr Morrison said he is in regular contact with state leaders, particularly Ms Berejiklian, to get on top of the problem and ‘return to as normal a COVID situation as we can as soon as possible.’
‘The medical expert panel, the AHPPC, has been meeting each day. They’ll meet again this afternoon and the Acting Chief Medical Officer will provide an update at that time,’ he said.
Mr Morrison’s address to the nation comes as the NSW government tightens restrictions.
The total number of known coronavirus cases in NSW has now risen to 70, though the state’s premier remained optimistic about containing the outbreak.
Scott Morrison has defended Gladys Berejiklian’s move to lock down Sydney’s northern beaches
Northern beaches residents are only allowed to leave their homes for exercise, shopping for essentials, work or providing medical care
‘The one positive is we still have not seen evidence of massive seeding outside the northern beaches community and our aim, of course, is to keep that in place,’ Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Sunday.
The government has imposed a number of restrictions on the Sydney region, including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Illawarra-Shoalhaven, which will remain in place until 11.59pm Wednesday.
No more than 10 people are allowed at household gatherings and patrons will need to maintain a four-square metre distancing at venues.
Up to 300 people will be permitted at places of worship and hospitality venues, while singing and chanting at indoor venues is banned, and dance floors will only be allowed at weddings.
People are also being urged to wear masks until Wednesday and to avoid visiting any vulnerable friends, relatives or aged-care facilities until Christmas Eve.