NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a tightening of restrictions after the state reported 239 new local cases and two more virus-related deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday.
Worryingly, 88 cases were in the community for at least part of their infectious period.
Health officials revealed an unvaccinated woman in her 90s from south-west Sydney died on Wednesday morning at Liverpool Hospital, as well as a man in his 80s, who died on Wednesday afternoon at Royal North Shore Hospital. These were the 12th and 13th virus-related deaths during the current outbreak.
The data marks the highest number of daily cases since the beginning of the pandemic and comes after Ms Berejiklian announced a four-week extension to the state’s lockdown on July 28.
On Thursday, Ms Berejiklian said NSW was still seeing too much transmission among households and workplaces and further restrictions were needed.
Insufficient levels of compliance were also highlighted as a major point of concern and have led to more enforcement powers for the police.
From midnight on Thursday, people living in the eight local government areas identified as high-risk areas on Wednesday will be allowed to move only within a five-kilometre radius of their homes – regardless of their reason for leaving.
The eight LGAs are:
- Georges River
People in these areas will also be required to wear a mask at all times when outside their home.
Ms Berejiklian said the five-kilometre travel limit would also apply to single bubbles.
In an attempt to boost compliance, the Premier said the fine for not wearing a mask would increase from $200 to $500 and police would be given the power from midnight to close down a public premise, worksite or business if they were found to be violating public health orders.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said there would also be more police on the ground conducting random compliance checks.
He said the new powers and extra police on the ground were “about us getting out of lockdown sooner”.
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Eighty-eight cases not isolating
Of Thursday’s 239 local cases, 113 are linked to a known case or cluster – including 88 household contacts and 25 close contacts – and the source of infection for 126 cases is under investigation.
Eighty-one cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period.
But 88 cases were in the community for at least part of their infectious community and Ms Berejiklian said this meant case numbers were likely to rise before they fell.
The isolation status of 70 cases also remains under investigation.
And many cases are also experiencing serious illness.
Health officials revealed 182 cases were admitted to hospital, including 54 people in intensive care and 22 requiring ventilation.
In line with observations made on Wednesday, the data also showed most of the cases came from the South Western Sydney Local Health District (104 cases), followed by the Western Sydney LHD (58 cases) and the Sydney LHD with 51 cases.
In addition to the locally acquired cases, one new case was acquired overseas in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Three previously reported cases were removed following further investigation bringing the total number of locally acquired cases in the current outbreak to 2810.
In news described as “pleasing” by chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant, the state reported 110,962 COVID-19 tests and 24,706 vaccines over the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday.