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‘Peace of mind’ cash for Sydney lockdown


Financial support for Sydney workers and businesses should give all Sydneysiders the peace of mind to follow the health advice, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says.

Ahead of the expected extension of Sydney’s lockdown on Wednesday, NSW expanded its business grants and either cut or deferred payroll taxes for most companies.

Workers who have lost eight or more hours a week as a result of the lockdown will be able to apply through Services Australia for up to $600 per week.

The increase in workers’ payments kicks in once a lockdown exceeds 21 days but Ms Berejiklian declined to say how much further Sydney’s lockdown would continue.

“The numbers speak for themselves and we’ll have more to say about that tomorrow,” she told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

But putting the financial supports in place gives Sydney “that freedom and gives everybody that breather to be able to follow the health advice and to try to get out of the lockdown as quickly as we can,” she said.

“What we do know is that we have the financial support there so that individuals and families and businesses don’t have to stress and they know that for the duration of the lockdown, the support will be there,” she said.

NSW recorded 89 new local coronavirus cases on Tuesday, following 112 new local infections on Monday and 77 on Sunday.

Before this week, the state’s previous highest daily count for locally acquired cases was 72 on April 1, 2020, NSW Health data shows.

Most of the new cases were in the city’s southwest, while 20 were in the southeast or inner city.

Some 27 positive cases were not in isolation for all or part of their infectious period – a figure playing on the minds of authorities.

“We need to get that as close to zero as possible,” Ms Berejiklian said.

A man aged in his 70s from Sydney’s eastern suburbs became the second death in the latest outbreak and took the national death toll to 912 since the pandemic began.

A construction worker who had the virus while working in Goulburn – about 200km from his home in Sydney – has prompted new restrictions for essential workers.

Anyone performing essential work who lives or works in the Fairfield local government area must be tested every three days, while anyone from Greater Sydney travelling to the regions for work must be tested weekly.

Workers must carry proof of their last negative test, such as an SMS.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said health authorities were assessing whether restrictions would need to be tightened outside of Greater Sydney as a result.

“It does highlight why people cannot be complacent about the risk anywhere,” she said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Tuesday resisted calls for essential work to be clearly defined, saying it was too “challenging”.

“You can spend your lives looking for loopholes in these things… but the answer is: use common sense,” he said.

NSW Police continue to guard the perimeter of a Bondi Junction apartment block, where nine COVID cases have been identified across five different households.

Meanwhile, NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell admits students of non-essential workers are unlikely to return to school after Friday as originally anticipated.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was thinking of Year 12 students and urged them to access mental health support.

“You will get through this,” he said, while announcing $17.35 million for Headspace, the Butterfly Foundation and other organisations.

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (for people aged 5 to 25)

beyondblue 1300 22 4636


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