Confusion over New South Wales' lockdown rules amid COVID-19 outbreak

There is confusion over New South Wales' strict COVID-19 lockdown implemented to stamp out an outbreak of community cases. 

On Tuesday, the outbreak crossed state borders with new cases and several locations of interest identified in Melbourne. NSW also recorded 89 new local COVID-19 cases yesterday, a decrease from the 112 reported on Monday. Of these, 21 were infectious in the community.

Australia correspondent Emma Cropper told The AM Show the NSW lockdown was supposed to end on Friday but given the cases, Sydneysiders are anxiously awaiting news. 

"We are all dreaming of leaving lockdown here at the moment but probably Friday is a bit ambitious.  What Gladys Berejiklian, the premier here, is saying is that it's the number of cases in the community they need to see get to zero, so when we see the numbers and they've reached over 100 a day, they're sitting around 80 to 90 usually… it's actually the community numbers which are down around 20 to 30 a day and it's those numbers they need to see get to zero." 

Cropper said in an effort to contain the outbreak high-risk areas have been targeted with strict measures. In Fairfield, where the virus is spreading, essential workers must be tested for COVID-19 every 72 hours and everyone else must stay home apart from essential trips. But she said there has been some mixed message which is causing concern. 

She said while police are using translators to make sure everyone gets the message, people are still getting confused. 

"It's the lockdown here… the messaging is to stay home but the shops are open so it's very confusing in many ways."  

"It's really frustrating for the likes of me who comes from New Zealand and know to stay home and go into lockdown and then yesterday I was walking outside the supermarket and I saw a gelato store that was open and had eight people lined up inside getting ice cream." 

Sydney's lockdown resembles New Zealand's alert level three with all non-essential businesses closed. 

People are not allowed to leave their homes unless for essential reasons such as shopping for food or other essential goods and services, medical care or compassionate needs, including getting a COVID-19 vaccine, exercise, or essential work and education. 

While food stores can stay open, it's for takeaways only. And all entertainment facilities including theatres, cinemas, music halls, concert halls, dance halls and amusement centres are closed.