681 cases - another daily record
Regional lockdown extended to August 28
NSW is 'learning to live with Delta': Premier
NSW has set yet another record for daily Covid-19 cases on Thursday with Premier Gladys Berejiklian moving to extend the statewide lockdown.
The 681 new locally acquired cases announced is another substantial rise from the 633 announced on Wednesday, and is a jump of more than 200 in just two days.
Ms Berejiklian warned there was serious concern over transmission continuing in western Sydney. She identified Merrylands, Guildford, Auburn, Granville, Lidcombe and Greenacre as suburbs of concern.
With cases in regional NSW "bubbling along", Ms Berejiklian announced the state's lockdown will be extended to August 28 to align it with Greater Sydney's lockdown.
It was initially planned to end on Sunday.
Fuelling the debate on what strategies states should implement to control the highly-infectious Delta variant, Ms Berejiklian said the state must accept residents will have to live with the virus.
"We can't pretend that we will have zero cases around Australia with Delta. As the Doherty report says, once you get to 80 per cent double dose, you have to open up, everyone will have to learn to live with Delta," she said.
"In New South Wales, we are learning that earlier than others."
Paired with Melbourne's 57 locally acquired Covid cases, Australia has broken its national daily record for known infections.
The state reported an additional Covid-related death, a man in his 80s, taking the outbreak's death toll to 61.
The outbreak, which began on June 16, is nearing 10,000 cases, roughly two-thirds of the state's cases since the pandemic began.
There are 474 people in hospital, 82 of which are in intensive care. Twenty-five of those need ventilation.
NSW government 'working on' easing restrictions
Ms Berejiklian once again reiterated her commitment to easing restrictions for fully vaccinated people once the state hits six million jabs.
"Those that are vaccinated will have the opportunity to do something that they can't do now," she said.
At the current rate of vaccination, NSW should hit that target in just five days.
Pressed on what an easing could look like, Ms Berejiklian refrained from delving into the details but said her government was "working on those proposals as we speak".
"When we get closer to 6 million we will of course communicate to everybody [the changes the NSW government decides].
"The next few weeks will be hard, but no doubt that once we get those high vaccination rates life will feel much better, it will look much rosier."
NSW Commissioner of Resilience Shane Fitzsimmons thanked those who were adhering to restrictions and said he understood the struggle many residents are experiencing.
"It is challenging, and I don't support the phrase social distancing. As a matter of fact, what we're talking about is physical distancing," he said.
"Now in these tough times more than ever we need to be socially connected, we need to be reaching out, checking in on one another, making sure that we are looking after our own welfare and those of a loved ones and families are networks.
"But we do it virtually. We need to maintain a physical distance. We need to stay at home. We need to follow the rules."
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