Covid-19 seeping out of eight high-risk LGAs, harsher lockdown measures needed, experts say



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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian provides an update on the COVID-19 numbers. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nikki ShortSource:News Corp Australia

New modelling reveals Sydney’s Covid-19 outbreak has escaped the eight Local Government Areas of concern.

Data analysed by the Burnet Institute suggests Covid-19 has made its way into LGAs adjacent to some of the areas of concern, including Burwood and Strathfield in the inner west.

In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia’s InsightPlus, titled ‘Sydney avoids 4000 cases, but lockdown must be broadened’, four MJA authors have recommended restrictions be tightened in more LGAs.

The eight LGAs of concern are Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool and Parramatta.

“Although the number of cases is still lower outside southwest Sydney, daily cases in the rest of Sydney are now increasing at about the same rate as happened initially in Fairfield – doubling every 4–5 days,” the article reads.

“It is not clear why the rates have accelerated, but this increase is statistically significant (p = 0.02). The NSW Government recognised the increasing problem outside the south west Sydney LHD, and has progressively imposed stringent restrictions on more local government areas (LGAs), such as Georges River, Campbelltown and Parramatta.

“However, the adjacent LGAs of Burwood and Strathfield had higher incidences per capita during 19–26 July than either Parramatta and Campbelltown (Table 1), and Bayside (southwest of Sydney Airport) had a higher rate than the adjacent LGA of Georges River, but have not yet been included in the more stringent restrictions.”

Evidence suggests Sydney’s harsher restrictions have worked given an upward trend in daily cases in southwest Sydney reversed on July 15, exactly when July 9 measures were expected to take effect (Fig 3a).

However, cases in the rest of Sydney have not followed this pattern (Fig 3b).

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Figures 3a and 3b show the virus was controlled in southwest Sydney but not outside that region. Picture: suppliedSource:News Corp Australia

Significantly, the article also predicts, based on modelling, that despite enhanced restrictions a seven-day average of five cases cannot be achieved until the end of September.

“We sincerely hope we are wrong, and the daily caseload drops much faster,” the article read.

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However, there is hope for NSW residents.

Details from the state’s much-anticipated road map out of lockdown have emerged with a hint when pubs could finally reopen.

Senior government sources have toldThe Sydney Morning Herald the first restrictions set to ease will relate to returning to face-to-face learning, hospitality venues and gyms.

The sources, who are familiar with the plan but not authorised to speak about the details, said once vaccination rates hit between 50 and 60 per cent, students would be able to return to school, outdoor dining for hospitality venues would be able to resume and gyms would reopen with strict Covid-19 safety measures in place.

NSW confirmed 207 new Covid-19 cases on Monday and the death of a man in his 90s from southwestern Sydney.

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