Covid NSW: Cases surge to 239 as Premier warns 'things will get worse'

·News Reporter
·4-min read

NSW has recorded its highest daily total of Covid-19 cases amid the Delta outbreak for the third consecutive day. 

There were an alarming 239 new locally acquired cases announced on Thursday, with at least 66 of those in the community for the entirety of their infectious period.

To put the severity of the update into perspective, the 24-hour total is the highest NSW has recorded since the pandemic began and is a sharp rise from the 177 announced on Wednesday and 172 on Tuesday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned cases would only surge in the days to come.

People sit at Bondi beach despite Sydney's stay at home orders. Source: Getty
People sit at Bondi beach despite Sydney's stay at home orders. Source: Getty

"Based on those numbers we can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better," she told reporters.

She warned the three key areas of transmission were workplaces, households and health settings.

"We cannot continue to see transmissions increase in these settings," Ms Berejiklian said.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said it was "disturbing" a high number of cases continued to be detected in the community. 

A further two deaths, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 80s, were confirmed, taking the outbreak's death toll to 13. They were both unvaccinated.

NSW Covid restrictions tightened again

Following the surge, Ms Berejiklian announced it is now compulsory for residents of the eight LGAs of concern to wear a mask when leaving the house.

People in those LGAs will only be allowed to move up to five kilometres from their homes.

Those LGAs are Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Blacktown, Cumberland, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River.

Ms Berejiklian said police would increase their presence to eradicate the small minority doing the wrong thing.

"It only takes a handful of people, or a small percentage, to do the wrong thing, to cause a setback for all of us. We can't afford setbacks."

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller ruled out random door-to-door checks but said there would be targeted visits based on Crime Stoppers reports. 

"We will be patrolling the streets and we have the right to seek information from people in terms of their residence," he said.

The fine for not wearing a mask has been increased from $200 to $500.

Police Minister David Elliott said he "detests" having to increase penalties but he said it was "quite clear" the number of complaints police were receiving it was needed.

On Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian announced the current lockdown would run to August 28 and tightened restrictions once again, notably restricting non-essential workers in Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown LGAs from leaving those areas.

NSW response 'far from perfect', Berejiklian admits

When pressed by Sky News Political Editor Andrew Clennell on whether her government's response to the Delta variant had been a failure, Ms Berejiklian said there was "no perfect way to deal with a pandemic".

"We've been far from perfect," she said.

"But if you look at other places around the world and the way the Delta strain has taken over communities, even when vaccination rates have been higher than ours, we can take some comfort in the fact that today we haven't had thousands and thousands of cases, thousands of people in hospital and many more deaths.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 28: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wears a face mask during a COVID-19 update and news conference on July 28, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Lockdown restrictions for Greater Sydney have been extended by four weeks, to August 28th as the city struggles to contain the highly contagious Covid-19 delta variant.  (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams Pool/Getty Images)
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said NSW's Covid response has been 'far from perfect'. Source: Getty

"That's what these lockdowns are about."

Dr Chant refuted suggestion the state was now solely reliant on vaccination rates hitting a certain target to exit lockdown.

"We assess the situation each day but I think what I have got to absolutely say is my commitment and that of my team and that of the police is to get the numbers down," she said.

"We have got to see this turn around. There is a fundamental responsibility on us all to take the lock down incredibly seriously."

Hazzard slams people not wanting vaccine as 'extremely selfish'

Dr Chant said 25 per cent of people over 70 in the state had not yet received a first dose of vaccine. 

"I cannot urge you as members of the community to reach out and support your elderly family members and friends to get vaccinated," she said.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard went much harder, calling people who do not want a vaccine as "extremely selfish".

"If you think you cannot have a vaccine just because you don't want to have a vaccine, well you should think about what you are doing to your family and to the community," he said.

"I would say even more than that, what a ridiculous position is that when you are going to put health staff at risk and when you get sick, you are going to expect to come into hospital... paid for by taxpayers. 

"It is time for those who actually think that way to wake up."

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