Dan Andrews angers Sydney with ring of steel comments

People in NSW are fuming after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews strongly suggested a “ring of steel” be implemented to protect the rest of the country from Sydney’s outbreak of the highly contagious Delta strain.

“We need a ring of steel around Sydney so that the virus is not spreading into other parts of our nation,” Mr Andrews told reporters during Friday’s Victorian Covid-19 update.

“Let’s focus on fixing what is going on in Sydney, let’s focus on not spreading what is going on in Sydney across the rest of our country. We will finish up with a whole country locked down if we don’t do this properly,” he said.

He argued that because he established a “ring of steel around Melbourne” throughout the worst of the city’s outbreak, the NSW government should now be doing the same in Sydney.

While his comments earned praise from some Victorians, it has sparked outrage among those in Greater Sydney, where residents have been subject to a strict “stay at home” order for a month.

Not only have thousands been unable to work, given the closure of construction sites and all non-essential businesses, no one is allowed more than 10km from their home.

Many have argued that current restrictions essentially have the effect of a “ring of steel” around Sydney, with travel between LGAs being banned, along with having visitors and socialising.

Dozens have been fast to point out that it wasn’t until Melbourne’s cases soared to 671 that Mr Andrews finally enforced a strict “ring of steel” in August last year.

The move saw the introduction of a curfew from 8pm to 5am, and a ban on residents being further than five kilometres from their homes.

But NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday that curbing outdoor exercise and banning people from being outdoors at certain hours of the day would not help stop the spread.

“Please know that we are not the type of government, and I am not the type of premier, that is going to be asking citizens to do things that we don’t think are going to have any effect,” she said.

“When I get questions about curfews or exercise or whatever else, the fact is that will not … reduce the number of cases.”

Ms Berejiklian on Friday announced 136 new cases, including 53 who were in the community while infectious.

Sydney’s outbreak was on Friday declared a national emergency, with Ms Berejiklian calling on support from the federal government to urgently “refocus” the vaccine rollout program.

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Author: Shirley