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Sydney left in LOCKDOWN LIMBO as NSW Government backflips on COVID-19 restrictions

Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement of new restrictions was met with anger and confusion. Then came a NSW Health clarification.

There is mass confusion in southwest Sydney over what is considered an ‘essential worker’ after a raft of new restrictions were announced by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Saturday.

Berejiklian tightened stay-at-home orders on Saturday, saying only emergency service and healthcare workers were allowed to leave the Local Government Areas of Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool.

See Gladys Berejiklian announce the new cases in the video player above

But overnight, a list of 35 different exemption categories have been released, including political staff and data storage technicians. You can see the full list of exemptions below.

Residents are barred from leaving the three council areas while all but critical retailers across Sydney are closed as the city doubles down in its most serious battle yet with COVID-19.

NSW reported 111 new community cases of coronavirus on Saturday along with the death of a man in his 80s.

At least 80 per cent of cases have come from the city’s southwest.

And at least 29 of 111 were also infectious before going into isolation, a number authorities say is too high.

“I can’t remember a time when our state has been challenged to such an extent,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“Not a single one of these decisions was taken lightly.”

 Gladys Berejiklian announced the tighter restrictions on Saturday.
Gladys Berejiklian announced the tighter restrictions on Saturday. Credit: AAP
NSW Health ‘authorised workers’

NSW Health on Saturday night released a list of workers authorised to travel outside the local government area they live in if they are required to leave home for work.

They are:

1. Retail trade

a person employed or engaged to work for a retail premises specified in clause 24(1A) of the Order:

2. Retail trade

  • industrial or commercial food retailing

3. Administrative and support services

  • “click and collect” services

4. Public administration and safety

  • a member of the NSW Police Force, Fire and Rescue NSW, the NSW State Emergency Service, the NSW Rural Fire Service or the
  • Ambulance Service of NSW or other emergency services worker

5. Public administration and safety

  • the administration of justice, including in relation to the operation of courts and tribunals, correctional centres and community corrections

6. Public administration and safety

  • a person employed or engaged by or on behalf of the NSW Government for the purposes of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

7. Public administration and safety

  • a members of an Australian Parliament
  • electorate office staff

8. Public administration and safety

  • Defence, national security and law enforcement

9. Public administration and safety

  • a person employed or engaged by Services Australia
  • a person employed or engaged by Service NSW

10. Health care and social assistance

  • a person who provides health services within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1997 (whether or not in the public or private sector) or a registered health practitioner or a person who works for a registered health practitioner

11. Health care and social assistance

  • a person employed or engaged by the Department of Communities and Justice to provide housing or homelessness services

12. Health care and social assistance

  • a person employed or engaged to provide services to persons with disability or vulnerable persons

13. Health care and social assistance

  • a person employed or engaged at a residential aged care facility

14. Health care and social assistance

  • family violence and sexual assault services

15. Health care and social assistance

  • veterinary services (including laboratory and diagnostic services and clinics)

16. Health care and social assistance

  • animal welfare, care and accommodation services (excluding pet grooming unless there is an immediate animal welfare reason)

17. Heath care and social assistance

  • end of life services including funeral, crematorium and cemetery services, mortuaries and morgues, spiritual or religious services connected to end of life services

18. Education

  • education and schooling

19. Education

  • early childhood education and care

20. Agriculture

  • biosecurity and food safety personnel undertaking critical duties

21. Manufacturing

  • production and manufacturing of food, beverages, groceries and sanitary products

22. Manufacturing

  • food and fibre processing and manufacturing

23. Manufacturing

  • manufacture of food and beverage packaging

24. Manufacturing

  • manufacture of coffins and caskets

25. Manufacturing

  • manufacturing of medical equipment, consumables and personal protective equipment

26. Manufacturing

  • manufacturing of telecommunications equipment and infrastructure

27. Transport, postal and warehousing

  • seaport and airport operations

28. Transport, postal and warehousing

  • freight, logistics, postal, courier or delivery services (including food logistics, delivery and grocery fulfilment)

29. Transport, postal and warehousing

  • export supply chain operators

30. Transport, postal and warehousing

  • distribution of food, groceries and sanitary products for sale by supermarkets, grocery shops or other shops that predominantly sell food or drinks

31. Transport, postal and warehousing

  • warehousing

32. Transport, postal and warehousing

  • road transport (passenger and freight) apart from taxi and rideshare services
  • rail transport (passenger and freight) – including rail yards
  • water transport (passenger and freight)
  • air transport (passenger and freight)
  • pipeline and other transport
  • transport support services
  • vehicle repairs and critical maintenance including disinfection
  • towing services
  • critical safety operational staff for transport

33. Electricity, gas, water and waste services

  • electricity services
  • operation of energy systems
  • gas services
  • liquid fuels
  • water supply, sewerage, sanitation and drainage services
  • waste resource recovery services (including collection, treatment and disposal services)

34. Information media and telecommunications

  • telecommunications services, internet service providers, web search portals and data processing services
  • data specialists and technicians
  • data storage

35. Other services

  • essential services for the maintenance, safety and upkeep of public and recreational spaces

You can see NSW Health for more information.

Sydney COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

Tougher restrictions apply to the entire Greater Sydney region as well.

From Sunday, supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and few other retailers will be allowed to open and will have to operate with ‘click and collect’ or takeaway.

Construction sites, large or small, will be shut.

All office workers and others working from home should not be pressured to go in to work, with employers to potentially incur a $10,000 fine if they push staff to attend.

Berejiklian also told Sydneysiders not to carpool with anyone.

With data modelling based on more than 400 exposure sites indicating everyone in Sydney is at risk, the premier said the harder line was needed.

She defended the measures taken to curb the outbreak so far, saying they had prevented “thousands and thousands” of cases and the further restrictions were a “no-regrets policy”.

Runners in Sydney
Harsher lockdown restrictions have taken effect in Sydney after another 111 new virus cases emerged. Credit: AAP

The harsher measures were prompted by the persistent numbers of people infectious in the community before they were diagnosed.

“We are seeing some cases still diagnosed late but we need to see that number get down, it is far too high and that is the basis for why we have recommended much more extensive actions to reduce those interactions,” NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said.

Workplaces are a key area where new infections are being seeded, she added.

Retail is being restricted and all construction paused in Greater Sydney until July 30. Credit: AAP

NSW police issued 162 fines in the 24 hours to Saturday to people flouting the lockdown.

Two more people were charged and another eight were fined on Saturday afternoon after an unauthorised protest in Sydney’s south-west.

Commands are ramping up enforcement in the three southwestern local government areas that are going into an extra-strict lockdown.

New COVID-19 testing rules have come into effect for Fairfield-based essential workers. Credit: AAP

Residents were assured on Saturday that government agencies would mobilise between now and July 30 to provide them with supplies and services as needed.

A record 82,000 people came forward for COVID-19 testing on Friday.

NSW COVID-19 hotspots

Overnight, more than 40 additional venues were listed by NSW Health, plus several more public transport routes.

You can click here to see the latest on NSW COVID-19 hotspots.

- with AAP

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