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NSW Premier questioned over timing of Sydney lockdown

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 13: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian addresses the media on September 13, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Source: Getty Images AsiaPac/ Brendon Thorne - Pool

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has faced repeated questions over whether she was too slow to respond to health advice about a super-spreader event blamed for entrenching the Delta outbreak in Sydney's south-west. A parliamentary inquiry has revealed New South Wales Health knew on the 24th of June it had failed to contain a cluster linked to a birthday party held at Hoxton Park five days earlier.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has faced repeated questions over her response to health advice in the days before she ordered a lockdown of all of Greater Sydney on the 26th of June.

On that Saturday in June, Premier Berejiklian conducted two news conferences and during her second media appearance she maintained she'd received additional health advice from her chief health officer and that warranted an extension of the lockdown to include all of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong. 

But answers to questions on notice at a parliamentary inquiry have revealed New South Wales Health knew two days prior to that decision that they had failed to contain an outbreak from a party attended by multiple people at Hoxton Park. Contact tracers discovered they had missed a number of party guests who had spent at least five days in the community after being exposed to COVID-19. That party became a super-spreader event and entrenched the Delta outbreak in Sydney's south-west.


Highlights

  • Commentators have criticised the New South Wales government for not locking down harder and faster in June
  • Delta variant was first detected in Sydney on the 16th of June in an unvaccinated limousine driver 
  • Yass Valley Council areas will go back into lockdown for two weeks starting tonight

 

Journalist: "The West Hoxton party occurred on the 19th, New South Wales Health knew about it on the 21st, they thought they'd found everyone, on the 24th they realised that there were people that they didn't know were there, that had been in the community for five days. On the 25th, the next day, you locked down the Eastern Suburbs, not West Hoxton, and it wasn't until the 26th that you locked down the whole state. Why did you wait between the 24th and the 26th to lockdown?"

Gladys Berejiklian: "Look these are decisions we took based on the health advice and, again, there will be people that said we went too hard and too soon and others will say, you know, not hard enough. I mean there are lots and lots of people who'll have an opinion on this. But what is, what is the most important advice that I receive, the government receives, is from the public health team."        

 

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