NSW Premier says some virus measures may be relaxed ‘in weeks’

The NSW Premier has flagged a potential relaxation of tough social distancing restrictions as new COVID-19 infections continue to stabilise.

Apr 08, 2020, updated Apr 08, 2020
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. (Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. (Photo: AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

The state has recorded 48 new COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, taking the state’s total to 2734.

There are 36 people in intensive care and the death toll remains at 21.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday welcomed the ongoing stabilisation and decline of new cases, but warned community transmission was still increasing.

She said that while social distancing would be necessary until a coronavirus vaccine or cure is found, restrictions are being reviewed on a month-by-month basis.

“If the advice in a couple of weeks’ time 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,” Berejiklian told reporters on Wednesday.

“But that comes with risk and I need to be very up-front about that.

“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.”

The Premier said the Government was getting advice on what schools would look like in term two, and what business activity could look like.

She reminded people to adhere to restrictions, which are having a positive effect, as authorities keep a watchful eye on increasing community transmission.

NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said one adult and one child in a family group of seven had been confirmed to have COVID-19, after children were photographed being transported for testing on Tuesday night.

They had been staying at the Hilton hotel in Sydney where a number of people are in quarantine after returning to Australia.

Berejiklian said it was a terrible reminder “that his horrible disease can affect anyone of any age”, while noting it could have a milder impact on young people.

It comes as the first group of 288 Australians quarantined at the nearby Swissotel are released on Wednesday morning, under a police operation to ensure their departure is quick and seamless.

This group arrived in Australia on March 26 and have undertaken a mandatory 14-day self-isolation, to protect the community from the coronavirus.

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Gold Coast woman Christine Cooper told AAP she and her husband were well looked after during the “long two weeks”.

“It’s weirder getting out,” Cooper said on Wednesday.

“You feel like an inmate that’s been in jail and now you’ve been released.”

Graham Cooper said they were well fed through the isolation period.

“The food was as good as you could get under the circumstances and plentiful,” he said.

All are getting a letter confirming their period of isolation and are undergoing a final health check.

After Wednesday’s operation, police will plan for further departures when some 3000 Australian residents are expected to leave hotel isolation over the next week.

Meanwhile, the Ruby Princess remains docked in Port Kembla, near Wollongong, where it’s expected to remain for 10 days while 1040 crew members undergo medical assessments.

About 200 crew have shown symptoms of coronavirus.


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