Covid NSW: 145 new local cases, premier reveals concerning 'challenge'

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·News Reporter
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NSW announced another triple-digit surge of locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Monday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed a further 145 cases, slightly up from the 141 recorded on Sunday.

Of those, 51 were in the community for the entirety of their infectious period. A further 25 were partly in the community while infectious. The combined 76 cases is the highest of the outbreak.

Ms Berejiklian said mingling households remained "a challenge".

People sit on a wall at the south end of Manly beach over the weekend. Source: Getty
People sit on a wall at the south end of Manly beach over the weekend. Source: Getty

"Can I stress again, it is really important for people not to leave home unless they absolutely have to and, in particular, do not mingle," she told reporters.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant reiterated the call for families to refrain from meeting up. 

"It is really important that people only stay in their household unit," she said.

Ms Berejiklian revealed there had been a drop in infections in the Fairfield LGA, however Canterbury-Bankstown LGA was becoming of increasing concern. 

Residents in Sydney and surrounding areas are entering their fifth week of lockdown, with Dr Chant last week issuing a rallying call to residents to come out and get vaccinated as health authorities struggle to suppress the highly-infectious Delta variant.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation on Saturday said everyone 18 and over in Greater Sydney "should strongly consider getting vaccinated with any available vaccine including COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca" – a move welcomed by Ms Berejiklian.

The latest outbreak stands at 2,226 cases.

There are currently 156 cases admitted to hospital, with 44 people in intensive care, 18 of whom require ventilation.

There were 98,158 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm Sunday, compared with the previous day’s total of 102,233.

When asked if she would feel the need to mandate vaccinations in certain workplaces amid a heightened importance on the vaccine rollout, Dr Chant said there was "not a lot of resistance in the community to vaccination".

She called for "patience" amid the lockdown and said she was "distressed" to witness the mass anti-lockdown protests on Saturday. 

Berejiklian hints at lockdown changes by Saturday

Ms Berejiklian said her government would this week begin to lay out the "road map" for the coming months, including which restrictions will be retained or discarded.

She said some rules could change come this Saturday.

"I don't want to rule that out. Some settings might change. We might need to go harder in some areas and release some settings in others," she said.

However Dr Chant reiterated there were too many cases in the community and a hard lockdown was a necessity. 

While Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said compliance to the public health order was strong, leading UNSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws said it was evident people were still flouting the rules in public by mingling or stopping for conversations, some without masks. 

"The message isn’t getting to them that they do need to protect themselves," she told ABC News Breakfast.

Protest organisers 'bunch of anarchists', police commissioner says

Commissioner Fuller said police had received 10,000 calls to CrimeStoppers following Saturday's protest.

More than 100 infringement notices were handed out overnight linked to the protest.

He said there would be a large police presence next weekend as discussion of another protest emerges online. 

However he said a court intervention similar to the one for a BLM protest earlier in the pandemic would be unsuccessful as the organisers are a "bunch of anarchists".

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