NSW has reported a record 291 new local virus cases – and the state’s burgeoning outbreak has a new epicentre.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said case numbers were growing fastest in the Canterbury-Bankstown area.
Of most concern are the suburbs of Campsie, Bankstown, Lakemba, Punchbowl, Wiley Park, Yagoona, Greenacre, Earlwood, Summer Hill and Chester Hill.
“All the suburbs in the Canterbury-Bankstown area really need to be on extra alert,” Ms Berejiklian said on Friday.
“We are seeing too many people frequent certain shopping areas and perhaps not doing the right thing, so police will be more present in the Canterbury-Bankstown local area to ensure compliance – and we have to make sure that happens.”
And, with at least 50 of Friday’s cases active in the community while infectious, the Premier had another grim warning for Sydneysiders.
“Given this high number of cases, we are likely to see this trend continue for the next few days so I need everybody to prepare themselves for higher case numbers in the next few days,” she said.
The toll in the current NSW outbreak has risen to 22, with the death of an unvaccinated woman in her 60s.
Friday’s new record daily tally, which came after 262 cases on Thursday, has also prompted a backdown on plans for many year 12 students to return to classrooms.
Ms Berejiklian had prompted all senior students in the locked-down areas of greater Sydney and surrounds would be able to return to face-to-face learning from August 16. But, with the state continuing to set records for cases, and many of those still not isolated at home, that has changed.
“Obviously, the students who live in those eight local government areas of concern will not be able to have any face-to-face time for the foreseeable future until otherwise advised,” she said.
HSC students outside those areas will be able to have some classroom time, including face-to-face exams.
“Health and education have worked out a very safe way for that to occur,” Ms Berejiklian said.
There were also two new cases in the Newcastle area, after a spike in infections prompted a snap seven-day lockdown of the Hunter and Upper Hunter from Thursday night.
Chief health officer Kerry Chant said one is a woman in her 60s who is linked to a central coast outbreak and the other is a woman in her 20s who is a household contact of an earlier Newcastle case.
There are now seven virus cases in the Newcastle area and nine in the central coast.
“Again I am urging the Newcastle community and surrounds to come forward for getting testing so we can be assured that we aren’t
missing any chains of transmission,” Dr Chant said.
Ms Berejiklian said 84,000 COVID vaccines were given across NSW on Wednesday (the most recent day for data), and again encouraged people to keep turning out for shots.
“The more people we get vaccinated, the sooner we will be able to live more freely and I really want to stress that point,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Life for us on August 29 will be a reflection of how many people have at least one dose of the vaccine and where the case numbers are.”