A leading virus infection and control expert says the recent tightening of laws in NSW in response to COVID-19 have been poorly timed and ignored current data.
Australian National University professor Peter Collignon, an expert in past pandemics, said the "draconian" laws will not be sustainable, and the "flattening and going down" of the the rate of infections reveals Australia is a "good news story" compared to other parts of the world.
"I actually think the lockdown decision in NSW is a panic decision not based on data," Professor Collignon said.
"These are extra laws that won't make any difference to what is happening."
Under new laws passed this week, people outside their home without a reasonable excuse face a maximum $11,000 fine and the possibility of six months in jail.
Professor Collignon said the government's modelling has most likely overestimated death rates, and "locking people up for months is not sustainable". He said previous government measures, not new ones were already reducing case numbers.
The fear is because none of us can predict the future.Australian National University Medical School professor Peter Collignon
"If you are outside you are apparently supposed to keep moving, but if you are outside and sitting two metres apart there's no risk of infection. I think you are safer outside than inside," he said.
"This is fear. And brought on by only looking at numbers from New York and London and not places like South Korea where certain places have been kept open.
"We need to act on the data from other countries with controllable numbers."
He said restrictions on gatherings would need to continue through winter, the peak virus transfer season, and into September in order to keep hospital demand manageable.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday morning the state was focused on the number of transmissions without a known source.
There are now 307 confirmed locally-acquired cases of the disease without a known source across NSW, with one of those cases within the Southern NSW Local Health District.
"If we can't identify the source it means we can't deal with the spread. That is something we're worried about,' Ms Berejiklian said.
Dr Collignon said community-to-community transfers have become a government focus because most people with the disease in Australia so far have been overseas travellers.
"I fully admit cases are happening, but it's not exponential like we've seen with travellers. It doesn't make biological sense," he said.
"I can understand it if the rate was exponentially going up, but the numbers are not going up.
"We've never had uncontrolled transmission in our community here. I think the government got the timing wrong for the lockdown.
"The fear is because none of us can predict the future."
The NSW State Emergency Operations Centre in response to the pandemic is being led by Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Worboys, and uses live information, intelligence sharing and digital mapping to inform the public.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morisson said Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has advised him the scaled up social distancing measures over the last week have "now achieved significant behavioural change" in the population.
"It is clear the epidemiology curve is beginning to flatten. But it is too early to determine whether such movements will be significant or sustained," he said.
"Stronger adherence to social distancing and new quarantine arrangements for returned travellers will take a number of days to show maximum effect.
"The biggest single concern remains the evidence of cases where there are no known local links."
Ms Berejiklian has also announced NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller will investigate the handling of Ruby Princess cruise ship passengers, who were all allowed to travel home without being tested despite a number falling ill and being tested.
Six hundred cases are now linked to the vessel, and South East Regional Hospital medical services director Liz Mullins said last week she would not be surprised if local cases were link to the cruise ship.
"We know that until we increase the capacity in our hospitals, until we get more intensive care beds, we won't be able to deal with the massive influx of patients," Ms Berejiklian said.
Recently-appointed SNSWLHD CEO Margaret Bennett posted a video online this week telling staff she is "aware of the anxiety that is being experienced" around the current shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
"The focus on adequacy of PPE supply is a national, state and a regional focus," she said.
"I want you to be reassured there is unrelenting endeavour going into ensuring the adequacy of PPE for the time ahead."
The former Northeast Health Wangaratta CEO said staff have undergone table top exercises this week to test the approach towards the pandemic and admitted some areas, including the handling of a possible increase in hospital presentations, was lacking.
She said 800 staff members have "come forward offering to do different additional or alternative work", and a workforce and well-being plan has also been created.