Berejiklian announces start of new limit on gatherings and clarifies stay-at-home direction for over 70s

New rules limiting gatherings to no more than two people will come into effect in NSW from midnight. People still need to stay 1.5 metres apart. Picture: Chris Lane
New rules limiting gatherings to no more than two people will come into effect in NSW from midnight. People still need to stay 1.5 metres apart. Picture: Chris Lane

New rules limiting gatherings to no more than two people will come into effect in NSW from midnight.

However, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday morning she wanted everyone to start practicing immediately.

The new restrictions come as the number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus in NSW drop again.

NSW's chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said there were 127 new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, March 28.

This compared with 174 in the previous 24 hours, and 212 before that.

Dr Chant said, while pleasing, the numbers needed to be treated cautiously as "they can vary and jump around day to day based on testing numbers".

"It is the long term trend that is going to be important," she said.

Ms Berejiklian clarified the situation regarding people aged over 70, who were told by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday night they should not leave home at all.

Ms Berejiklian said, "I know this is difficult and I appreciate that for some parts of the day people might want to get out and exercise. That's OK, as long as you don't come into contact with anybody else.

"We know this virus particularly has a horrible impact on those who are older and vulnerable."

Ms Berejiklian said anyone who felt isolated or needed things, and didn't have anyone to help them, should call the state government's 24-hour number 13 77 88.

"We will make sure you get that support and assistance," she said.

Ms Berejiklian said the new restriction of a maximum of two people at any indoor or outdoor gathering would be enforced from midnight.

It did not apply to immediate family members, she said.

Ms Berejiklian said no one should be leaving home if they could avoid doing so.

"You should really not be leaving home unless it's for work, for school, for essential things you need to buy or else if you need to seek medical attention or exercise," she said.

"If you can work from home or learn from home, you should. If you can do everything from home you should.

"It is only in very exceptional circumstances you should be leaving home.

"I am pleased the community has responded quite favourably in the last few days.

"We have seen a marked difference in people's behaviour but still there are pockets of people not doing the right thing."

Ms Berejiklian said people in their 20s and 30s should be aware they were not immune from coronavirus and risked spreading the disease "to people you love and people in the community who are vulnerable and will lose their life because of this".

"We are seeing an increase in the statistics for that age group and they are the worst offenders in not sticking to the rules," she said.

Ms Berejiklian said, "I know we will all come together and adjust to these changes. I know people are doing their best.

"We are going to get through this. We are in a position now to control the spread as much as possible.

"I am confident once people absorb these changes and what works for them we will all adjust.

"Who would have known that a phone call or a text message would have so much more significance today that it used to before.

"Those little things matter.

"Once we bed down the changes we have announced in the last few days, the community will feel a bit better moving forward, a bit better about what the future looks like over the next few months."

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