The NSW government continues to ramp up its efforts to contain the danger of uncontrolled community transmission, announcing a new list of Sydney suburbs and NSW locations where infection ‘hot spots’ have been identified. Anyone living in Blacktown, Canada Bay, Cumberland, Goulburn, Mulawarie, any suburb in the Inner West, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith, Randwick, Ryde, Waverley and Woollahra who is exhibiting even the mildest of symptoms should get tested as a matter of urgency, the state’s chief medical officer Dr Kerry Chant said in a media briefing on April 20. Full details on where to find testing centres in NSW can be found here.
Last week, testing was increased across Sydney and certain NSW communities, and early indications are showing that this intensive screening is paying off. Figures released on April 19 revealed that just six new cases had been confirmed in NSW in the previous 24 hours, the lowest number to be reported in more than five weeks. Elsewhere in Australia, including Queensland and South Australia, no new cases had been reported in the same 24-hour period, despite an increase in local testing.
Australia’s response to the outbreak is among the most effective yet seen in the world. In countries such as the US, UK, Spain and Italy, uncontrolled and exponential community transmission has had a devastating impact on health infrastructure, leading to thousands of deaths. However, Australia has managed to ‘flatten the curve’ of infection rates at an impressive pace and could soon be in a position to relax certain social restrictions, although physical distancing protocols are likely to remain in effect for many more months.