Australia News & Commentary

Two Months Ago Berejiklian Boasted: “It Is Possible to Manage an Outbreak and Not Shut Down a City”

"I hope we've demonstrated to other states that it is possible to manage an outbreak and not shut down a city, and not stop businesses, and not stop people being employed, and not stop people having a relatively normal existence."

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned the current lockdown is “highly unlikely” to end on Friday after the state recorded another 77 cases on Sunday.

The concession comes as the state enters its third week of harsh restrictions after failing to bring the outbreak under control.

Ironically, two months ago, the Premier appeared on Sky News Australia, boasting that her government had set an example for other states to follow by demonstrating that it is possible to manage a C0VID-19 outbreak without having to shut down the city or businesses.

Berejiklian told Sky News Australia host Chris Kenny in May that she was concerned about actions taken by the Victorian government, claiming outbreaks need not stop people from having a relatively normal existence.

“I fear for Victoria,” Berejiklian said, “and I worry about what their government may do, but I just feel that New South Wales has been down this path a number of times. We take forward the learnings we get.

“I hope we’ve demonstrated to other states that it is possible to manage an outbreak and not shut down a city, and not stop businesses, and not stop people being employed, and not stop people having a relatively normal existence.

“We’ve always tried to make sure in New South Wales that we don’t burden our citizens with anything unless we have to,” she said. “I hope we’ve demonstrated our ability to do that and I hope it’s an example to other states that it is possible to manage an outbreak without causing grief to the vast majority of your public.”

Berejiklian has copped criticism for her heavy restrictions, from prohibiting “browsing” in stores, to limiting outdoor gatherings to just two people, despite NSW health authorities confirming last week that not one case of C0VID-19 has been transmitted in an outdoor setting.

Broadcaster and Sky News Australia host Alan Jones blasted the Premier for her “draconian lockdowns,” saying “locking people away from one another has led to an abandonment of basic freedoms.”

“Government is meant to be by the people, for the people, not by brazen defiant know-alls parading themselves as politicians.”

Jones went on to note that in May, Berejiklian said she had “made sure” that the state had “the system in place to be able to weather whatever came our way so that we wouldn’t ever go into lockdown again.”

“A new cluster forms and she presses the lockdown button; and now defiantly presses it again, so millions of Sydney people face another week in lockdown,” Jones said.

NSW Police have also stepped up patrols to ensure public compliance with the health orders. In the past 24 hours, more than 100 infringement notices have been issued by Police, however, it’s unclear how many of those were issued to individuals found “browsing” the chocolate aisle or unintentionally wandering into a footwear store.