Since they were introduced six weeks ago, Australia’s array of social restrictions have had a significant impact, reducing the viral spread. Now that the daily national tally of new cases has dropped to double digits, New South Wales has taken its first tentative steps on the pathway back to normality, with the announcement of relaxed rules on visiting family and friends in their homes, which comes into effect on May 1.
However, despite this positive trend, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged the state’s residents not to become complacent, saying that any unexpected upturn in new cases, particularly instances of community transmission, could lead to a return to stricter lockdown conditions. "This is not an excuse for a holiday", Berejiklian remarked, adding that physical distancing rules and hand hygiene protocols would remain in place for the foreseeable future.
As part of the state’s efforts to keep the spread under control, health officials are hoping to further expand NSW's testing regime. Currently, between 4,000 and 5,000 NSW residents a day are tested. However, Berejiklian has urged thousands more NSW residents to undergo testing, with the aim of doubling current numbers to 8,000 people per day. To achieve this, health authorities are asking for anyone experiencing even the slightest symptoms – a sniffle, a mild sore throat, minor coughing – or anyone asymptomatic who might be concerned that they have been exposed to get tested.
You can find a full list of the NSW’s testing centres here.
In the 24-hour period between April 28 and 29, the state carried out 5,414 tests, revealing 11 new cases, including just a single instance of community transmission. In total, Australia has recorded 6,731 cases to date, with more than 83 per cent of that total, 5,626 people, having fully recovered.