Patience is wearing thin over Sydney’s outbreak: Andrew Macfarlane

It’s hard not to feel glum about Sydney’s Covid-19 crisis. 

A man walks along Circular Quay in Sydney while wearing a mask as a precaution against Covid-19. Source:

Large parts of New South Wales have been living under lockdown conditions for around five weeks, but despite that, there are no signs the state has reached the peak of this outbreak.

Comparative to past outbreaks, these are the toughest restrictions Sydney has ever lived under.

So why aren’t they resulting in a drop in case numbers? 

There was a new grim total of 239 new local cases today, with more than 70 people out and about in the community while infectious. 

NSW Police say most Sydneysiders are abiding by the rules, but they’ve also been granted new powers to shut down businesses, in a response to rising case numbers.

The state government also says the majority of people are following orders, with most of these new infections occurring in households, and people who are still going into work. 

Officials refuse to be drawn on what Sydney’s backup plan is, continuing to tell the public that the goal of zero new cases is attainable — given enough time.

However, it begs the question, at what point does Sydney accept that this outbreak is too tough to control, with mass vaccinations being the only solution?

Many countries have struggled to contain outbreaks of Delta, so why is Australia any different?

The daily press conferences have become repetitive as the state government attempts to hammer home the basic messages:

  • Stay home 
  • Only leave for essential shopping and exercise 
  • Wear a mask and keep physical distance 
  • Get a vaccine as soon as your eligible.

However, despite the briefings being broadcast by every major television network, those messages are not getting through to everyone. 

Older Australians have been eligible for the AstraZeneca vaccine for weeks, and yet only a quarter of those over 70 are yet to receive their first dose. 

There are shortages of Pfizer, the other vaccine for Australians, meaning many of those who want a vaccine can’t even get a booking. 

The situation means people in Australia are sitting ducks, as this outbreak rages on.