Revised NSW opening plan will see 'return to lockdowns' - AMA
The NSW branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has issued a strong warning to Premier Dominic Perrottet for his revised reopening plans, including doubling home visitor numbers.
New Premier announced some significant changes to the roadmap on Thursday and when lockdown begin to lift from 11 October, 10 visitors will be allowed in homes, not counting children 12 and under. This is double the limit of the previous roadmap. Perrottet also lifted the cap on outdoor gatherings from 20 people to 30, and increased the cap for weddings and funerals from 50 to 100 people.
AMA NSW President, Dr Danielle McMullen, said the state having a new Premier isn’t a good enough reason to deviate from the roadmap, accusing Mr Perrottet of making the “popular” decision instead of the safe one.
“Keeping people safe must be the Premier’s top priority. We know the virus is still circulating in the community. Relaxing restrictions too soon will not be a ‘popular’ decision if it means the number of people contracting the virus and ending up in hospital skyrockets,” Dr McMullen said.
“We were happy with the roadmap as it was,” McMullen told reporters.
“We thought it was a careful and sustainable reopening. It’s really important that everyone is vaccinated and that’s why we’re still pushing so hard to really get to that 90-to-93% vaccination target.
“And it is why we were trying to keep sensible restrictions in place, and stage the reopening to allow people some relief in terms of their mental health and also to allow businesses to come back in some form, but also to give us a chance to pause and reflect at each stage of the reopening and make sure that we’re keeping people as safe as possible.”
McMullen said she was concerned people might take the accelerated easing “as a sign that they don’t need to worry at all”.
It’s been revealed the NSW CHO Kerry Chant “did not endorse” the revised road map.
“I have confirmed Dr Chant did not endorse this new road map,” 9 News political reporter Chris O’Keefe wrote on Twitter on Thursday evening.
NSW has reached it’s 70 per cent vaccination target, triggering a raft of new freedoms for vaccinated residents from next week.
“And then we may see a skyrocketing of cases, and then a need to put back in place more significant restrictions. We certainly don’t want to have to see the community go backwards.”
She said she was particularly concerned about easing of mask restrictions, and the increase in household visitors, given household transmission is a major issue in managing the spread.
Epidemiologist Prof Mary-Louise McLaws also said that she was worried about how the new roadmap would impact the most vulnerable.
“Now is not the time for accelerating NSW reopening,” she said.
“We are sitting at about 59% of the total population of NSW having two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Countries which have re-opened gradually have typically been at 70-80% total population vaccinated.”