Sydney goes from bad to worse as restrictions tighten

Eight high-risk Sydney local government areas have had further restrictions imposed after NSW recorded its worst day yet with 239 new Covid cases.

Residents in Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Blacktown, Cumberland, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River LGAs must now wear masks any time they step outside their home.

“If you step foot outside your household, you need to wear a mask at all times. It doesn’t matter where,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

Fines will also be increased for those not following mask rules from $200 to $500.

From Friday, residents in those LGAs can not move within 5kms of their home for any reason unless for exceptional circumstances.

Today’s case numbers have prompted NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller to warn further restrictions including curfews, military assistance and a ring of steel are all on the table.

“Nothing is off the table between conversations between the Premier and myself,” he said.

“We are not stretched at the moment, but clearly if there was an LGA expansion, I would absolutely have the confidence in expanding the Australian Defence Force in NSW… if we had to use them I would call out.”

Fuller said the Delta variant has exposed noncompliance in a way other variants did not.

“I just think people have underestimated the danger of the Delta variant and that has caused the numbers to be unacceptable,” he said.

But Berejiklian said the government would strive to maintain a balanced approach.

“It’s finding the right balance with keeping society going, encourage positive mental and physical health and focusing compliance where the major problems are…. all of that is based on health advice,” she said.

“Part of the response to Delta means you have to be flexible and you have to adjust according to where the challenges are.”