Two regional NSW local government areas have been forced back into COVID-19 lockdown as the Labor opposition demands more requests more freedoms for those in virus-hit western Sydney.
Lismore and Albury have re-entered lockdown for at least the next seven days after three cases were detected across the two areas.
The sources of the infections in both regions are unknown but NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Marianne Gale suspects they are linked to Sydney.
The Lismore case has prompted a shift in the “border bubble” arrangement negotiated days ago by Queensland and NSW, while the effect of Albury’s lockdown on Wodonga is not yet clear.
Wodonga is in Victoria, on the south side of the Murray River.
Just hours before Lismore and Albury were plunged back into lockdown, stay-at-home orders were repealed across 12 other regions.
Meanwhile, NSW Labor has called for more freedoms for outdoor exercise and recreation to be restored to western Sydney locals, including additional freedoms for outdoor picnics.
“The chief health officer has repeatedly informed the community that the transmission of the Delta variant is far more prevalent in indoor settings so it makes sense for the government to take a look at this,” opposition health spokesman Ryan Park said on Friday.
Video: Exposure sites identified in regional Victoria (Sky News Australia)
“It still could remain restricted to double vaccinated households but surely spending a few hours outdoors at this very good time is a small way that families can try and get some enjoyment back.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro on Friday said his government would stick to its “measured approach” for reopening after lockdown.
Meanwhile, a NSW parliamentary inquiry into the state’s outbreak will resume on Friday, focusing on issues in western Sydney.
It comes as NSW reported 1351 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday, taking the toll for the three-month virus outbreak past 200.
Twelve people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 across three social housing buildings in inner Sydney’s Redfern. A mobile vaccination team is visiting each tower building to provide vaccinations.
Elsewhere, a man has been charged with the serious assault of another man at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic in Auburn.
The 18-year-old man allegedly pulled the 55-year-old male victim from his car and punched and kneed him before driving away.
He will appear at Burwood Local Court later on Friday.Internet Explorer Channel Network