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NSW restrictions to ease after second day of zero cases

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian welcomed a second consecutive day of zero new coronavirus cases on Monday but warned “we can’t let complacency slip in”.Speaking from the site of a new emergency services training centre in Western Sydney, Ms Berejiklian tipped further easing of restrictions imminently, although did not give specifics.Currently in NSW businesses must operate…

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian welcomed a second consecutive day of zero new coronavirus cases on Monday but warned “we can’t let complacency slip in”.

Speaking from the site of a new emergency services training centre in Western Sydney, Ms Berejiklian tipped further easing of restrictions imminently, although did not give specifics.

Currently in NSW businesses must operate on the one person per four square metre rule and have a COVID-19 Safety Plan, and companies must allow employees to work from home where it is “reasonably practical”.

No more than 20 people can gather in public or in a private home. Guest limits on weddings were recently raised to 150 – although only 20 people are permitted to dance at any one time.

Ms Berejiklian said she did not “want to see us lull into a false sense of security” and have to reimpose coronavirus restrictions, noting that “the last time we relaxed a bit, the Victoria situation arose”.

But the Premier said her government was “doing everything we can to make life as easy as possible during the pandemic”, and that “if we feel it’s safe enough to give people freedom” that would happen, stressing her focus was on supporting jobs and business.

“We got through the bushfires, we got through the floods, we’re getting through the pandemic,” she said. “I don’t want us to give up now because we are at a critical phase.”

She said she felt there was too much complacency in the community. “Just because there are zero cases doesn’t mean the virus isn’t out there lurking,” she said, encouraging anyone with even the “mildest symptoms” to come forward for testing.

Fewer than 6400 tests were recorded in the reporting period.

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“Yes, it’s the weekend and we expect a dip (in testing numbers). The only reason why we’ve done well is because everybody has been careful, everybody has been following the health warnings.”

NSW Health is still monitoring a number of possible exposure sites, including the Campbelltown Golf Club on Wednesday September 16 from 2pm to 4.30pm.

Anyone who was at the club for more than an hour during that window must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days, even if they test negative. People who were at the club for under an hour during that time must monitor for symptoms, get tested immediately if they develop and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.

Ms Berejiklian said NSW would be watching carefully to see the impact of restrictions easing in Victoria.

“I remember speaking on a daily basis about the threat that was posed to NSW once we came out of lockdown – could we control community transmission? Fortunately the answer is yes, although its been a hard slog.”

Victoria recorded five new cases on Monday as the state entered the second stage of its four-stage “road map” out of lockdown, bringing Melbourne’s rolling 14-day average to 20.3.

Ms Berejiklian said she did not want to leave the border with Victoria closed a day longer than necessary but at the same time “I don‘t want to throw away all the hard work” the state had done.

“We’ll be interested to see how Victoria fares,” she said.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has again floated the idea of a trans-Tasman travel “bubble” before the end of the year, something the NSW Premier said she would be interested in if there were reciprocal quarantine-free arrangements.

“Certainly not having Kiwis in quarantine would free up for Australians to come back as well,” she said.

She also said she would feel more comfortable “if we didn’t have any borders (closed) within Australia before we did that”.

frank.chung@news.com.au

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.