NSW could move to lockdown ahead of Commonwealth, Premier says

The NSW government is about to announce a second round of economic stimulus measures to help businesses as the number of coronavirus cases in the state tops 1000.

The new package is worth about $750 million comes on top of the $2.3 billion announced last week and will include tax relief for pubs, clubs and hotels and some rental relief for small businesses working out of government-owned buildings, the ABC reported on Friday.

“Our expectation is that any relief provided by the NSW government will be used to contribute to help businesses stay in business and people stay in jobs,” Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told the ABC.

NSW now has 1219 confirmed cases of coronavirus and seven people have died, adding to the national death toll of 13.

Some 16 patients are in intensive care, with 10 requiring ventilators.

Two more children in NSW on Thursday – girls aged one and two – were confirmed to have COVID-19, taking the number of child cases to four.

A midwife at St George Hospital also tested positive for the virus, with her patients contacted and told to self-isolate.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Thursday police would ramp up their public presence and that no cruise ship passengers would be permitted to disembark in NSW until further notice.

She said protocols on disembarkation needed tightening and that she was working with the Australian Border Force on new measures.

The Ruby Princess cruise ship – which disembarked passengers last week without adequate checks – is responsible for 121 COVID-19 cases in NSW.

Meanwhile, new figures show Waverley Council in Sydney’s eastern suburbs has recorded the highest number of confirmed coronavirus.

The local government area has had 105 cases of COVID-19, according to data published on the NSW Health website on Thursday.

The Sydney LGA has recorded 69, while Northern Beaches and Woollahra have recorded 68 and 66 cases respectively.

Ms Berejiklian said the government was “looking very closely” at the impact of Monday’s shutdowns on pubs, cinemas and churches. If they weren’t sufficient, further action would be taken.

NSW Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the full effect of the second stage of shutdowns – in place from Thursday – wouldn’t be known for some days.

“It does take us at least seven and possibly 14 days to really get a picture. Remember we also have to take out the fact we have returning travellers come in with disease,” she said.

Five people in NSW were handed infringement notices on Thursday for flouting coronavirus public health orders.

Police have the power to hand out fines of $1000 to individuals and $5000 to businesses that breach public health orders or ministerial directions.

Ms Berejiklian, meanwhile, confirmed 292 Australians who had disembarked from the Norwegian Jewel cruise ship in the United States and flown home were in isolation in a Sydney CBD hotel.

They were escorted to the hotel by border authorities upon arrival, while five passengers with respiratory symptoms were taken to hospital.

– Heather McNab, AAP

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