Premier Gladys Berejiklian could tighten NSW coronavirus restrictions in future as state is on 'high alert'
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says there will be no tightening of coronavirus restrictions at the moment — but that could change — as NSW Police signal the border blockade could last up to six weeks.
Health authorities in NSW confirmed 13 new coronavirus infections in the 24 hours to 8.00pm yesterday, however 11 are returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.
The other two are people who are self-isolating in Albury after being identified as suspected positive cases on Monday.
A family member of those two cases in Albury has also tested positive for COVID-19, but has already been isolating for a number of days, chief health officer Kerry Chant said.
They will likely be counted in NSW's statistics tomorrow.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the blockade was likely to last at least six weeks.
"I guess that's a question on not just our minds but the local residents' as well," he said.
"But you'd have to say that the Victorian lockdown looks like it will be a minimum of six weeks, so I imagine that we'll be staying the course for at least that."
NSW Police said only 12 people have been denied entry, out of the more than 30,000 vehicles, which crossed the border since it closed yesterday at midnight.
Commissioner Fuller said everyone had a duty to prevent the virus entering NSW border towns.
"We would ask those Victorians to really think twice about travelling into Melbourne hot zone because if the health orders are breached, if the virus gets into the border towns then it will put enormous pressure on the government for tougher restrictions," he said.
About 18,500 tests were conducted across the state yesterday.
Ms Berejiklian said there was no evidence of additional community transmission, but it could take weeks to confirm further "seeding" in border communities, and from Victorian visitors to the state.
She said that while the rate of community transmission was low there was no reason to tighten social-distancing restrictions.
"It doesn't take very long for things to escalate quickly and how it doesn't take very long for that rate of community transmission to increase and so all of us have to be on high alert," Ms Berejiklian said.
"Because of that high rate of continued testing and the very low rate of community transmission, the New South Wales Government is not going to make any changes now.
"Obviously we're monitoring, especially the potential seeding that may have occurred in those border communities and also throughout other parts of New South Wales and that remains our focus."
Ms Berejiklian refused to rule out tightening restrictions if the situation changes.
"I'm confident that the number of cases we've identified so far have been contained, but we're not confident yet that there hasn't been any seeding, which might bubble up in the next couple of weeks," she said.
"I do want everybody to feel on high alert. Because if we do get results, if the data starts changing and we need to act quickly.
"I want people to know that for the next two to three weeks in particular, all of us have to be on high alert."
Dr Chant said anyone who had entered NSW from Victoria and did not live in a border community needed to self-isolate for 14 days.
"It is essential that we stop the further seeding into New South Wales of cases from Victoria," she said.
"I know that it is challenging sometimes to self-isolate, but I call upon family members and community members to support people to self-isolate and also urge anyone who has returned from Victoria, in particular the hotspot areas, to come forward for testing, with even the most minimal symptoms."