NSW COVID update premier Gladys Berejiklian faces anxious wait to see if cases fall

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Sydney still has days to wait to see if stricter rules will help quash its COVID-19 outbreak and release the city from lockdown.

“We need to wait until at least the weekend and early next week to see the impact of those harsher restrictions,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday.

The state recorded 110 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, up from 78 the previous day.

That figure would have been “thousands and thousands” had Greater Sydney not entered lockdown, now in its fourth week, Berejiklian said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the virus must be quashed before restrictions can be lifted. Credit: AAP

The premier has said the virus must be quashed before restrictions can be lifted.

But the premier refused to be drawn on whether her government could go harder if case numbers don’t start to turn around.

“In truth, we won’t live as freely as we need to or we would like until vaccination rates increase,” she said on Wednesday.

“That is one thing the NSW government can’t control.”

At least 60 of the new cases were circulating in the community for part or all of their infectious periods.

The premier refused to be drawn on whether her government could go harder if case numbers don’t start to turn around.
The premier refused to be drawn on whether her government could go harder if case numbers don’t start to turn around. Credit: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

More than half – 56 – of the new cases were still under investigation and had not been linked to existing clusters when they were announced.

The current outbreak has now prompted a change to the Higher School Education exam timetable, with face-to-face exams like dance and language speaking rescheduled to minimise disruption.

The NSW Education Standards Authority said it would not rush its decisions on the HSC, with updates on dates for Drama and Music performance exams to come next week.

Sydney virus hotspots are bracing for news of lockdown ‘impact’. File image.
Sydney virus hotspots are bracing for news of lockdown ‘impact’. File image. Credit: Hanis/Getty Images/iStockphoto

NESA CEO Paul Martin pledged that Year 12 students would obtain their HSC this year.

“My message to students is to continue studying and focus on achieving your best as we work with all schools to ensure the HSC continues with minimal disruptions,” he said.

School students are in their second week of remote learning.

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