NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has played down reports social distancing restrictions in the state could be relaxed on May 1.
The speculation has arisen as COVID-19 cases in NSW continue to stabilise against a backdrop of troubling community transmission in some areas.
The 48 cases is the lowest number reported since March 20, the day after the infected cruise ship, the Ruby Princess, docked in Sydney.
Ms Berejiklian said any decision to lift restrictions would be based on rolling monthly data, but added it was important to not “raise expectations”.
“We know that the restrictions are having an effect. But it takes us a couple of weeks to get the data through the health experts to be able to advise us,” she said.
“So I don’t want to raise expectations, but at the same time, there could be a chance, if the health experts deem it appropriate for us, to look at some relaxations.”
Do you know more?Email email@example.com
The premier is acutely aware of the potentially fatal risk that comes with easing or lifting social distancing guidelines, which has caused mass job losses and economic hardship in NSW.
“If the advice in a couple of weeks is that there might be a couple of aspects that we can tweak to provide relief to our citizens, well then, we’ll take that advice. But that comes with risk.
“Every time you relax a restriction, more people will get sick. More people will die. And it’s a horrible situation to be in, but they’re the choices and we need to be up-front about that.”
During her daily briefing, Ms Berejiklian confirmed the NSW hospital system has doubled its intensive care unit capacity.
“We now have more than 1000 beds with the staff members required, with the ventilators, with the other equipment required.”
The goal is to triple ICU capacity in the state, she added.
Thirty-six people are seriously ill in intensive care, with 22 ventilated.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant was “pleased” to see more people had been tested for the virus, a key strategy to fight the pandemic.
This week she had been urging anyone with symptoms in Waverley, Woollahra, Dee Why, Manly, Ryde, Macquarie Park, Broken Hill, Lake Macquarie, Manning, Nowra and south Nowra, Byron and Port Macquarie to get tested.
Health officials had observed rising community transmissions from unknown sources in those areas.
Dr Chant confirmed 2900 people were tested in NSW yesterday, and 2100 on Monday.
NSW has conducted around 120,000 coronavirus tests in total.
Amid fears people will break social distancing over Easter, NSW Police commissioner Mick Fuller declared police would be patrolling holiday parks and camping sites.
READ MORE:How social distancing can halt the spread of coronavirus
“It is important over this weekend that we continue the good work and we continue to isolate, as frustrating as that may be.”
Police have issued a number of tickets and fines over the past 24 hours.
“Most of those were for people who had been given multiple warnings to comply and they just simply don’t care,” Comm. Fuller said.
“I think we will continue to do our best to give people as many warnings as we can but the reality is some people don’t get the seriousness of it and tickets will continue to be issued.”
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and are used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.