NSW is on edge after recording its highest daily cases as Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued a “special call out” to people in the western suburbs after the virus epicentre shifted there.
Ms Berejiklian said cases uncovered in the next few days would be critical in helping determine whether the NSW lockdown has to be extended.
More exposure sites were listed which appeared to shift the focus of the outbreak from Sydney’s east where it started to the western and southwestern suburbs.
Anyone who has been in the centre of Auburn in Sydney’s west since June 27 is being told to get tested, even if they don’t have symptoms.
“We’re seeing the virus, the central focus of the cases now, shift from south-east Sydney to parts of Auburn, south-west and Western Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“I just want to give a special call out to [these communities] in particular to watch for symptoms, come out and get tested, and avoid unnecessary time in indoor settings.”
Images published in media show crowds have been mingling in parks and beachfronts in Sydney despite stay-at-home orders.
“The next few days will be telling. But so far I’m relieved that there hasn’t been a huge surge in numbers,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“But I don’t want to see all our good work ruined today and tomorrow because the weather is great and people deciding not to follow the orders.
“[Let’s not] waste it because the sunshine is great and we’re out there mingling when we shouldn’t.”
Ms Berejiklian said on Saturday it was “too soon” to tell whether the lockdown of Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong will be extended beyond July 9.
The state recorded 35 local virus cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Friday, bringing the current outbreak to 261 cases.
While it’s the highest daily case number since the state’s first wave in early 2020, the majority of cases have been in isolation for their entire infectious period.
“If all of us continue to do the right thing, we’re able to leave the lockdown in a timely way. The next few days will be telling,” Ms Berejiklian said.
In Queensland, Brisbane and Moreton Bay residents emerged from lockdown on Saturday night.
But the state’s health authorities have issued a fresh alert for exposure sites in Eumundi, Sunshine Beach, Carina, Carindale and Tingalpa.
In WA, Perth and the Peel region emerged from a four-day lockdown on Friday, while the NT ended its stay at home orders on Friday also.
Victoria still has 30 active cases from its latest outbreak, that saw a two-week lockdown imposed in June.
Brisbane lockdown ends
Lockdown has been lifted across all of Queensland but with five more cases of community transmission and a huge list of exposure sites around the south-east, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has kept some restrictions in place.
Brisbane and Moreton Bay were the last two regions to come out of lockdown as of 6:00pm. An additional 24 hours was added to the lockdown after Friday’s unlinked cases were detected — a mother and daughter from Carindale.
Those cases have now been directly linked to the Portuguese Family Centre cluster.
Five more cases of community transmission were detected on Saturday and three in hotel quarantine.
The new cases included a 29-year-old Brisbane man who travelled to Eumundi on June 27, a woman in her 50s from Everton Park in Brisbane and a baggage handler in his 50s at the Brisbane Domestic Airport.
A Sunshine Coast man in his 50s was confirmed to have the virus late on Friday afternoon.
The detection of the case did not stop lockdown being lifted for Sunshine Coast residents last night but the Premier warned of multiple new potential exposure sites in the area.
She said the community was “not out of the woods yet” and restrictions would remain in place until July 16, including compulsory mask wearing.
Chief health officer Jeannette Young said “thousands” of people were in isolation after visiting exposure sites, “and it’s going up every minute”.
“I’d prefer to put more people into quarantine than ask the whole city of Brisbane to be in isolation,” she said.
“If we’d not locked down for those three days, I suspect we would have had a lot more cases.”
Deputy Premier Steven Miles said lifting the lockdown was “a huge relief”.
“There are three things that will keep us out of lockdown: masks, QR codes and testing,” Mr Miles said.
“If we can keep those up for 13 days, we can avoid another lockdown.
“Hopefully this will be our last one.”
–with ABC and AAP