Covid-19 NSW: Dubbo outbreak prompts regional lockdown extension


Authorities have explained why the lockdown in regional NSW had to be extended, with concerns parts of the state are ‘a tinderbox ready to explode’.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has described regional NSW being “a tinderbox ready to explode” with Covid-19 cases as the reason behind extending lockdown.

NSW Health officials are worried as Dubbo’s outbreak continues to grow, while sewage surveillance is indicating fragments of Covid in various treatment plants from Tamworth down to Merimbula on the NSW far south coast.

NSW recorded 1029 new local infections overnight and three deaths.

Although Sydney is the epicentre of the virus, western NSW is becoming a significant concern with the region recording 35 new cases overnight.

Dubbo is on high alert after it registered 25 new cases, while there were three in Orange, two in Bathurst, two in Bourke and one each in Forbes, Mudgee, and Parkes.

Mr Barilaro said the lockdown in regional NSW had therefore been extended to midnight on Friday, September 10. It was due to end this weekend.

“The decision to extend the lockdown is one to protect communities and protect the regions. We’re sitting on a knife-edge. It’s a tinderbox ready to explode,” he said on Thursday.

“And I do apologise to those communities that don‘t have cases today.

“But I put it this way: One of the reasons you may not have cases is because of the restrictions in place, minimising movement, because we know we’re a very interconnected community in regional and rural NSW.

“But we’ll be working with those communities. We’ll be working with the health team for regional NSW.

“We are on a knife-edge in the regions. We need to take pressure off the health system.

“In the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region, we have two new cases overnight and they are in the Wollongong local government area,” he said. “On the Central Coast, again, two cases.”

Merimbula, a popular holiday town near Bega, 525km south of Sydney, has not had a reported case since a Melbourne teenager was holidaying there while infectious with Covid in July last year.

But Mr Barilaro said the amount of Covid detected in sewage at a treatment plants there, and in other regions of NSW, was “alarming”.

“I just want to touch on again the sewage surveillance in Tamworth, Merimbula, Cooma and Brewarrina; they are alarming.

“(Sewage surveillance) been a significant tool we’ve used in the past in relation to identify cases. Rarely do we get it wrong.”

Originally published as Dubbo outbreak a factor behind NSW regional lockdown extension

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