Regional lockdown decision due on Thursday

'Too early to call' if regional NSW will leave lockdown this weekend

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Coronavirus
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The deputy premier said that regions kept in lockdown beyond September 10 won't necessarily be tied to Sydney.

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Deputy premier John Barilaro said the state government will "give every region an opportunity" before Wednesday to meet the criteria needed to leave lockdown.

Currently, the regional lockdown across New South Wales is set to end on September 10, however it is expected that a number of regions will have its stay-at-home orders extended.

Mr Barilaro told regional media outlets on Monday that the state's crisis committee will meet to discuss the lockdown on Wednesday, making a decision on the matter and sharing this publicly on Thursday.

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"On Wednesday we'll have everything submitted to health and we'll go to crisis committee, and then we'll be making a decision about what happens in the regions," he said.

The deputy premier said that it was "still too early to call", unable to predict whether or not the Riverina will be lifted from lockdown.

"There are big parts of regional and rural NSW that haven't got a case - have never had a case and haven't had a case in this outbreak - and I think you can't keep suppressing something that doesn't exist, and therefore hurting people in a way that these lockdowns do," Mr Barilaro added.

"I'll give every region an opportunity right up until Wednesday."

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro

On Friday, Mr Barilaro said that regions kept in lockdown beyond September 10 would remain under stay-at-home orders until the state reached its 70 per cent double-dosed vaccination target.

On Monday, however, he said that some regional areas would not have their fate tied to Sydney, and may have the chance to leave lockdown sooner - even if extended beyond this weekend.

"I think we should give the regions the opportunity to come out at any time, especially those areas of low numbers," Mr Barilaro said.

Regional areas with "consistent cases" such as Dubbo, Wilcannia, Broken Hill, and some Central West LGAs like Bathurst and Orange would likely be tied to Sydney moving forward, remaining in lockdown until 70 per cent double-dosed is reached.

At the current pace of vaccination, NSW is due to reach this target on Monday, October 18.

Mr Barilaro said there was a number of criteria for lockdown to be lifted in certain regions this weekend, including how many active cases there are, how many were infectious in the community, the number of people in isolation, the proximity of towns to other LGAs with high case numbers and sewage testing results.

"At the end of the day, if you just go on a set criteria and not take into account each individual issue on each case you'll end up putting a blanket closure on all the regions," he added.

Mr Barilaro said the crisis committee would take advice from the state's chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant on Wednesday, with the committee making the ultimate decision "as the executive".

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The story Regional lockdown decision due on Thursday first appeared on The Daily Advertiser.

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