Bad behaviour, an uncontrollable spread of the virus and a rising number of deaths amid a lagging vaccine rollout have all been blamed for Friday’s tightening of Sydney’s lockdown rules.
In addition to new rules across the city, millions of residents in 12 local government areas of concern will be hit with extra hard restrictions, as the Premier conceded she was “extremely worried”.
Gladys Berejiklian said police would be enforcing a 9pm to 5am curfew from Monday in Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and some suburbs of Penrith.
More local government areas could be introduced if the health advice dictates.
The only people allowed to leave their homes during these hours will be authorised workers.
“We feel for you, we’ve imposed a lot of restrictions on you already… But we don’t want to see more of you lose loved ones,” she said.
“It’s heartbreaking when you see a disease rip through families. Families who aren’t vaccinated are suffering the most.
“I apologise deeply to the vast majority of people in these communities who are doing the right thing, but for our own health and safety moving forward we need to make these difficult decisions.”
Earlier on in the lockdown, Ms Berejiklian had turned down the idea of curfew, but said now authorities were throwing “everything they have” into making the lockdown work.
“While the evidence of curfews is mixed, the evidence to a lot of this thing is mixed,” she said.
“But I do not want us to have to look back and say we did not try, we did not put everything into this.
“Other states and jurisdictions who had curfews have still seen cases grow… We have to be real about this.”
Chief health officer Kerry Chant said the curfew and other tough new restrictions was about “buying time” to vaccinate people.
“The effect of those vaccines on those 530,000 people with all the vaccines we are pouring into areas of southwestern and western Sydney, that will mean those workers are protected in two weeks time,” she said.
“That massive hit of vaccine into those workers will actually have an effect on the transmission as well as protecting those workers.
“But it takes time, and so this enhanced set of measures it to buy us that time and in the meantime, everyone else has got access to various forms of vaccinations.”
NSW Commissioner Mick Fuller said police had asked for additional powers because of the increasing instances of non-compliance.