NSW coronavirus social-distancing rules introduced on public transport as authorities confirm one new death

by in News May 18, 2020

Busy train stations in NSW could be closed and a maximum of 12 people will be allowed on busses under new coronavirus social-distancing rules introduced by the State Government.

Key points:
Health authorities in NSW confirmed one new coronavirus fatality last night
It takes Australia’s death toll to 99
Sydney siders are being warned to stay off public transport at peak periods due to the virus
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said, despite a massive reduction in patronage amid the coronavirus pandemic, Sydney’s public transport network was already at capacity in peak periods, when social-distancing was taken into account.

On Friday, it’s estimated about 570,000 commuters had used public transport in the Harbour City — down from the usual 2.2 million daily users pre-pandemic.

But as the state’s coronavirus shutdown is eased, the number of people on busses, trains, light rail, metros and ferries is increasing.

In response, the State Government announced it would cap the number of people permitted on the network at any one time.

A maximum of 12 people will be allowed on busses, while only 32 passengers will be allowed on each train carriage.

Ferries will be allowed to carry 45 commuters at a time.

Coronavirus update: Follow all the latest news in our daily wrap.
NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said he would like people to “self-regulate first and foremost”, but that transport police would also be enforcing the new caps.

“In terms of policing measures that we can put in place, we do have the capacity to look at the numbers of people who are on train platforms and entering stations,” he said.

“If we have to close the station for 15 to 20 minutes, we got that option.”

Mr Constance warned busses which were at capacity would drive past stops with waiting passengers.

The new restrictions come as health authorities in NSW confirmed one new coronavirus death, taking Australia’s total to 99.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the man in his 60s had underlying health conditions and died in hospital.

She said the man was a close contact of a known case.

In the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday NSW confirmed one new coronavirus case — a returning overseas traveller — from almost 6,000 tests.

A total of 48 people have died from coronavirus in NSW.

How fast is coronavirus growing around the world?

Charted growth in key countries, on a logarithmic scale.

This chart uses a logarithmic scale to highlight coronavirus growth rates. Read our explainer to understand what that means — and how COVID-19 cases are spreading around the world.

Meanwhile, Anglicare chief executive Grant Millard said if he had his time again, he would have insisted residents at Newmarch House with coronavirus be treated in hospital.

The Western Sydney nursing home has been the centre of a COVID-19 cluster, with 71 cases and 18 deaths.

Mr Millard said the decision to care for infected residents inside the home was made to try and contain the spread of the virus, and was taken after consultation with NSW Health and Federal Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck.

He defended the medical care given to residents inside the facility, but said “in hindsight” hospital care would have been better.

“Infection control practices … it’s a sort of a bread and butter business in a hospital setting, trying to do that in a residential aged care setting is complex,” he said.

Dr Chant said there were about 100 people being treated for COVID-19 by NSW Health.


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