News Virus circulating in NSW despite lockdown, authorities warn
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Virus circulating in NSW despite lockdown, authorities warn

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Authorities fear Sydney’s lockdown will fail and the virus will continue circulating unless residents take the rules more seriously.

Concerns rose after a worrying spike in community transmission on Thursday.

NSW confirmed 24 more local cases, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian admitting the coronavirus is “continuing to circulate” across the state – despite a 14-day lockdown.

Ms Berejiklian said half of the Thursday’s new cases were out-and-about while infectious – a statistic she called “concerning”.

“People going about their business, shopping and interacting with others is causing the virus to continue to circulate and we can’t have that,” she said.

“We are seeing workers who are leaving the house with symptoms or going to work and then inadvertently as they are going about shopping or other activity, they are passing it onto others.

“If we want the lockdown to succeed, all of us to have minimise our movements, minimise our interaction with others, as difficult as that is.”

Thursday’s cases came from almost 60,000 tests and included an unvaccinated student nurse who tested positive late onTuesday.

Chief health officer Kerry Chant said on Wednesday the 24-year-old nurse had worked at Royal North Shore and Fairfield hospitals, sending more than 100 patients and staff into isolation.

The nurse worked for five days while potentially infectious. One of her household contacts has also tested positive, but the source of the nurse’s infection is still being traced.

On Thursday, Dr Chant confirmed a second nurse who worked at the same hospitals, as well as Royal Ryde Rehabilitation Hospital, had also caught the virus.

She said that person was likely not working while infectious.

Another close contact of the 24-year-old was an unvaccinated aged-care worker at Summit Care in Baulkham Hills in north-west Sydney.

But Dr Chant did not specify if that person had contracted COVID.

She added almost all of the 149 residents at the Baulkham Hills facility had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Also among Thursday’s new cases were two people who picked up the virus on Virgin Australia flight VA524 from the Gold Coast to Sydney on Saturday.

They caught COVID from an infected crew member, but have both been in isolation.

Earlier in the week there were fears hundreds of aircraft passengers could have been exposed to the virus after it was revealed the crew member made five flights across Australia while infectious.

The Bondi cluster at the centre of Sydney’s outbreak has hit 175 and the total number of cases in NSW since the outbreak began on June 16 is 195.

The list of exposure sites continues to expand, with a major Sydney shopping centre, a Chemist Warehouse and a McDonald’s among the latest to be added.

  • To see an updated list of NSW exposure sites click here.

Ms Berejiklian has also announced mass COVID-19 vaccination hubs will be established in Wollongong and Macquarie Fields, while another hub in the Hunter is already in the works.

Another large clinic will also be established in the Sydney CBD.

It’s hoped the new hubs will boost the number of jabs administered in NSW to 200,000 a week and enable authorities to dramatically ramp up vaccinations once Pfizer supply increases.

Additionally, 22 pharmacies in remote NSW will from July 19 be cleared to dole out the AstraZeneca vaccine.

As reported by The New Daily, pharmacists have expressed frustration over the delay to getting the green light, having trained to administer the vaccine some months ago.

It comes as the cap on international travellers coming into Australia looks set to be slashed as the country deals with widespread outbreaks of coronavirus.

Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia have spent the week calling for a drastic cut to the weekly cap.

Meanwhile, locked down Queensland confirmed two additional community cases overnight, while the Northern Territory chalked one more.

There were no new cases reported across Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT on Thursday.

-with agencies