NSW health has added dozens more exposure sites ranging from supermarkets to buses, eateries and hardware shops after Sydney recorded its highest cases in a day since the first wave in 2020.
More than 30 sites were released late on Friday amid growing concerns the city’s lockdown could be extended.
⚠️PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT – ADDITIONAL VENUES OF CONCERN⚠️
NSW Health has been notified of new venues of concern associated with confirmed cases of COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/3MwMW2AaKB
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) July 2, 2021
Sydney and its surrounds have passed the halfway point of a 14-day lockdown in which many infectious people were not isolating.
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Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was relieved local case numbers had not significantly spiked in recent days, but authorities wanted to see a rise in the proportion of new cases already in isolation.
“I will say that the next few days are critical,” she told reporters.
“Come early next week we do want to see that tide turned.”
Only one-third of the new cases were in isolation for the entirety of their illness, prompting concerns the lockdown rules imposed on Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong will be extended beyond July 9.
Some 31 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, taking the outbreak tally to 226 cases.
Of the cases, only 11 were in isolation for the entire time.
In Queensland, Brisbane and Moreton Bay residents will learn on Saturday if their 24-hour extension to lockdown would be the last of it.
Two last-minute cases of a mother and daughter who had moved extensively through the community prompted the extra day of lockdown while the remaining areas of SEQ and Townsville were released.
In Western Australia, more than two million people in Perth and the Peel region regained some freedom on Saturday after a four-day lockdown ended overnight.
Interim restrictions will be enforced for the next three days including mandatory mask-wearing indoors and outdoors and capacity limits at hospitality venues.
And the Northern Territory is also waking lockdown-free after a COVID outbreak at a central Australian mine brought the Top End to a standstill for a week.
The world is in a “dangerous period” as the Delta variant takes hold in nearly 100 countries and the only way out of the worst of the pandemic is to vaccinate the globe, WHO has warned.
WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Delta variant was continuing to evolve and mutate and was becoming the predominant virus in many countries.
“I have already urged leaders across the world to ensure that by this time next year, 70 per cent of all people in every country are vaccinated,” he said, adding that would effectively end the acute phase of the pandemic.
Half of fluey Australians not getting tested
One-in-two Australians who had cold and flu-like symptoms in the past six months decided not to get a COVID-19 test, alarming research from the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia reveals.
Association president Michael Dray said it was concerning only 45 per cent of respondents with symptoms got tested as the Delta variant of the virus continues to spread across the country, causing lockdowns in some states.
“In order to successfully get on top of the current outbreaks in Australia, we strongly advise anyone to be tested if they have cold and flu-like symptoms, or if they have attended any of the venues currently listed,” Dr Dray said.
“Until the community is fully vaccinated, high levels of testing remains the best way to manage COVID-19, allowing public health officials to contact trace effectively.”
About 20.8 million tests have been conducted in Australia since the pandemic began.
The June research found 93 per cent of those surveyed believed pathology played a vital role within the Australian medical profession.
A record number of people were tested in NSW, which currently has the most COVID-19 cases, in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday with more than 73,000 people getting tested.
This surpasses the state’s previous record of 69,000 during the Northern Beaches cluster in December.