Australia’s top doctors are calling on the NSW Government to enforce stricter, wider lockdown measures in a bid to control the virulent Delta strain.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday enforced tough new restrictions on two million residents across eight western Sydney council areas of concern – Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Blacktown, Cumberland, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River.

The rules mean residents, who already can’t leave their local government area unless they are an authorised worker, must now also wear a mask at all times, and exercise and shop within 5km of their home.

Australian Medical Association President Dr Omar Khorshid fronted media on Friday to address the “catastrophic situation” in Greater Sydney just hours after the state had recorded another 170 new locally acquired cases.

“Now is not the time for compromise … now is the time to act strongly. This is probably our last chance,” he said.

The AMA is addressed the “catastrophic situation” in Sydney, calling for stricter, wider lockdown measures. File.
The AMA is addressed the “catastrophic situation” in Sydney, calling for stricter, wider lockdown measures. File. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE

“Sydney could be living with COVID for the foreseeable future, that means lockdowns, it means disruption to everyone’s lives, and it means misery, illness and death for people who are not vaccinated.

“The lockdowns have not worked the way we all wanted them to and part of that is because it’s been a little too little and a little too late each time.”

Khorshid said some simple “tweaks” to the existing lockdown measures would help control the virus, and relieve the pressure on contact tracers.

‘In this as one’

The AMA says Greater Sydney should be “in this as one” and the restrictions applied on the eight council areas of concern should apply for all for the sake of “less confusion and less complexity”.

“The virus is not just in western Sydney, we are seeing cases right now across the city and virus fragments are being detected in sewage plants across the city,” he added.

Khorshid said Sydney residents also had a choice to be “part of the solution or part of the problem”.

Australian Medical Association President Omar Khorshid.
Australian Medical Association President Omar Khorshid. Credit: MICK TSIKAS/AAPIMAGE

“There is no reason for any adult in Sydney not to go and get a vaccine today, tomorrow or next week,” he said.

“There are hundreds of people right now in Sydney who have COVID-19, they don’t know they’ve got it, but when you walk outside your house, whether it’s to the supermarket, to your job, whether it’s to go on a job, you are transmitting that virus to other people.”

Greater Sydney and surrounding regions will remain in lockdown until at least August 28.

AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid calls for Sydney-wide lockdown restrictions to fight COVID-19 Delta-strain
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