Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell is urging the NSW crisis cabinet to let “frustrated” residents in the region out of lockdown this week.
Mr Layzell penned a letter to his party’s leader Deputy Premier John Barilaro outlining how well the Upper Hunter, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Dungog local government areas have managed the coronavirus outbreak.
“The date for removing lockdown restrictions should be 12.01am, Saturday 18th September,” the Nationals MP said.
Within the region, one case was announced last Wednesday at Dungog, two people remain in isolation in Gundy in the Upper Hunter and one case at Singleton was announced on Friday. None of the cases have led to further infections.
No COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Muswellbrook Shire residents during this outbreak.
“People are right, they’re frustrated, they want out,” Mr Layzell said.
“If we look at a 14-day COVID-free exposure period, I think by the end of this week that will be clear.”
Mr Layzell said health advice, increasing vaccine rates and low-risk cases should result in the lockdown being lifted in the four shires.
“We start losing the social licence for the lockdown when people are feeling that the reason that they are in lockdown is not that great.”
First dose vaccination rates are up to 76.3 per cent in the Upper Hunter LGA, 73.3 per cent in the Dungog Shire, 67.1 per cent in Singleton and 63 per cent in Muswellbrook.
“We still have concerns about Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock and Newcastle but … what we’ve seen over this time is that we’ve managed it well [in the Upper Hunter], any exposures or cases have been very small,” Mr Layzell said.
“I would hope that the health authorities, the Premier and the other ministers in that crisis cabinet can see our point of view, can understand the information that we’ve put forward and make the right decision.”
The NSW crisis cabinet meets tomorrow, and Mr Layzell is hoping for an announcement on the lockdown on Thursday.
Suburbs not LGAs, one Sydney MP says
One Liberal MP is calling on the Premier to rethink the LGA approach to lockdowns and consider easing restrictions by suburb.
“Case numbers need to be presented and inform public health advice by suburbs so that communities can understand the risk of transmission in their local communities,” Member for Seven Hills Mark Taylor wrote.
“I am concerned the blunt use of LGAs or multi-suburb postcodes may lead to blanket restrictions that could have significant effect should outbreaks occur after the 70 per cent double vaccination easing of restrictions.”
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