NSW restrictions could extend significantly, new modelling shows

Lockdown restrictions for greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong have been extended until July 30.

The tighter restrictions aim to achieve zero new Covid cases who have been infectious in the community.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has set this zero-rule as a requirement to easing restrictions.

Image: Reuters

Meanwhile, new research from the University of Sydney back this up. Under the current settings, Sydney could be in COVID-19 lockdown for weeks to come.

More importantly, these restrictions will need to be extended if there’s even a small drop in compliance.

The USYD used complex modelling to forecast the city’s outbreak, factoring in the highly infectious Delta variant, isolation of cases, home quarantine contacts, and school closures.

Using data available until July 13, researchers that if 80 per cent of Sydneysiders complied perfectly with social distancing measures, it would take at least a month for cases to reduce from the peak to below 10.

Essentially, that’s two weeks more than the proposed July 30 deadline currently in place, as long as the peak of NSW’s current outbreak is contained to the 112 locally acquired cases on Monday.

However, if compliance dropped even to 70 per cent, the current outbreak would likely take two months to control.

Study leader, Mikhail Prokopenko, reiterated that 80 per cent compliance means four out of five Sydneysiders will have to reduce their contact with others to 10 per cent of what they would ‘normally’ have.

“For example, this would mean reducing your shopping frequency or duration to just one out of 10 typical trips or hours,” he said,

“So, if someone spent 10 hours a week doing the shopping, now it needs to reduce to just one hour of shopping a week.”

Unfortunately, Professor Prokopenko estimates that only 40 per cent of Sydneysiders are complying with stay-at-home measures.

“Our modelling indicates that the level of social distancing currently attained in Sydney is inadequate for outbreak control,” he said.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s recent outbreak has resulted in the state’s fifth lockdown. Sorry VIC, our bad.

Victoria has recorded 18 cases, while at least 6500 residents have been ordered to isolate as close contacts, as the state’s Department of Health announced new exposure sites overnight.

But, people haven’t taken too kindly to these new measures.

“Chaos” ensued on the streets of Melbourne on Thursday night as angry protesters marched through the CBD.

Demonstrators called for an end to restrictions mere hours after Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, announced the state would enter a five-day snap lockdown from midnight.

Many ‘protestors’ held signs that read, “I have a choice” and “lockdown kills” – with many demonstrators not wearing face masks. Go figure.

Andrews, however, has affirmed that a snap lockdown could save Victoria months of pain.

“We’ve got to do this, otherwise it will get away with us and we, as more than any other part of our nation know, we don’t want this getting away from us and being locked down for months,” Andrews said.

“We want to deal with this with a short, sharp, lockdown, decisive action, not waiting, not dawdling, now is our time.”