News State NSW News Fifth day without community-acquired COVID cases in NSW

Fifth day without community-acquired COVID cases in NSW

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Sydney-siders at the Van Gogh Alive exhibition preview. Photo: Getty
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NSW has recorded its fifth day on end without locally acquired cases of the coronavirus – this time combined with a healthy bump in test numbers.

Four new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in returned travellers in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, but there were none in the community.

Wednesday’s results came from 13,575 tests – double the 6300 for figures on Monday and Tuesday.

NSW authorities had been concerned about the drop in testing numbers across the state. On Wednesday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterated her warnings to residents not to be complacent about the risks of the virus, especially on the first week of school holidays.

“We know the disease is lurking in the community, so I don’t want anyone to be surprised if tomorrow or the day after we do get cases of community transmissions,” she said.

“We’re doing exceptionally well at this point but we know the threat of the virus lurking in our community is a high likelihood.”

But she also hinted that some virus measures could be eased soon.

“We’re looking at all the restrictions we have in place, we’re looking at the case numbers, we’re looking at what’s happening in other states to determine what decisions, if any, we make in the next little while,” she said.

That includes examining ways workers can return to city offices that were abandoned months ago as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

Ms Berejiklian told Sydney radio 2GB earlier on Wednesday that she felt “much more courageous now than I’ve ever felt in my leadership” because the community had responded positively to dealing with the pandemic.

“We want people to start going back to the CBD … but we want to make sure it’s done safely,” she said.

“We want people to support those economies and those businesses that have essentially been inactive for seven to eight months.”

The state government is already implementing safe ways for people to travel on public transport and has suggested other measures such as staggered office hours.

“The CBD doesn’t just mean Sydney – it means all of our centres whether it’s Wollongong, or Newcastle or Parramatta or Liverpool,” Ms Berejiklian said.

NSW has 50 COVID patients in hospital. There are three in intensive care, but none are on ventilators.

In the past eight days, the state has had just one locally acquired case.

Also on Wednesday, the Queensland government will review its decision to bar most NSW residents from entering the state, as it does at the end of each month. From 1am Thursday, Queensland borders will open to more NSW residents in border regions.

Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young has previously said NSW has to go 28 days without community transmission for the state to reverse its ban, but the government is under pressure to ease restrictions in line with South Australia.

NSW residents have been allowed back in to SA since Thursday.

-with AAP