For the first time since the crisis began, NSW recorded no new cases within a 24-hour reporting period, between 8pm on May 10 and 8pm on May 11. This result is even more impressive given the significantly broadened testing regimes, which has allowed the number of tests undertaken to grow from around 3,000 to 4,000 tests a day two weeks ago to roughly 10,000 a day now. The state set a new record for the highest number of daily tests on Saturday, May 9, with 13,421 people screened over 24 hours. State health officials are urging anyone, with even the mildest of symptoms, to get tested.
This news is a very encouraging development ahead of the state entering stage one of its plan to roll back current social restrictions from Friday, May 15. While NSW will not adopt all of the federal government’s recommendations for stage one – regional travel for holidays and recreation will remain prohibited, for example – the relaxing of some restrictions will make a noticeable difference to everyday life. Cafés and restaurants will be allowed to seat a maximum of 10 people, allowing for at least four square metres of space for each patron. Gatherings of 10 people in public spaces and five people in private residences, as well as the reopening of outdoor pools and fitness stations, will be allowed from May 15.
However, while NSW has seen a steady decrease in the number of daily cases in recent weeks, premier Gladys Berejiklian warned against the dangers of becoming complacent, adding that with the easing of restrictions, an increase in the number of new infections was highly likely. While the lifting of restrictions will allow for greater opportunities for socialising, physical distancing and enhanced hand hygiene should continue to be observed, the premier said.