Fifth death as NSW businesses crash site

·3-min read

A woman aged in her 50s has died in southwest Sydney, becoming the youngest Australian coronavirus victim since August.

The woman, whose body was found in her home on Monday morning, is the fifth person to die of COVID-19 in Sydney's current outbreak.

Monday was the first weekday since harsh new restrictions were enforced on Greater Sydney - including an Australian-first shut-down of the construction sector.

While Premier Gladys Berejiklian said their impact wouldn't be reflected in daily case numbers until the end of the week, Service NSW faced "unprecedented demand" for business welfare on Monday and temporarily refused new applicants.

"We're working through the demand and ask that you kindly come back to complete your transaction this afternoon," it said.

"We assure you that you will not miss out on this grant by returning later."

The state recorded 98 new local cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, maintaining a three-day average in the high 90s.

Up to 44 cases were active in the community while infectious, including 20 for their entire infectious period.

"The closer we get that number to zero, the sooner we can end the lockdown," Ms Berejiklian said on Monday.

Investigations continue into how 246 of the 1340 cases are linked to known clusters.

Ms Berejiklian said children were getting and spreading the Delta variant more easily than under previous strands, raising the likelihood children will have to be vaccinated earlier.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the state needed to think about making vaccines available for children, particularly those of high school age, once older age groups are immunised.

"I think there will be a key role for vaccinating children and also having booster vaccination rolled out quite quickly as well," Dr Chant said.

About three in five NSW residents (57 per cent) aged over 50 have had their first vaccination dose while just under one in five (18 per cent) have had both doses.

"Our population coverage - even for the over 60s - is not high enough and we have a good vaccine that can be used, where the risk of hospitalisation and death (from the virus) is very high as age increases," Dr Chant said.

"I would urge people to go out and access AstraZeneca vaccine, and go and have that discussion with your doctor."

The premier said the community would have to live with "some level of restriction" until vaccination rates were at an acceptable level.

She defended her weekend decision to shut the construction industry for two weeks, saying tradies moving across Greater Sydney, including the southwest, was "too big a risk".

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and key senior public servants are meeting with the sector daily to discuss extra COVID-safe measures like on-site testing.

It's estimated the tougher measures have left about 600,000 people without work.

That warranted Canberra reintroducing JobKeeper, NSW Labor said.

The new cases were diagnosed from 75,845 tests.

Three of every four cases were in Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas, but NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys denied the force was operating a "ring of steel" around southwest Sydney.

More police will be stationed along highways and at camping grounds and service stations in the state's western regions, after removalists were alleged to have travelled to the regions after being told they had COVID-19.

Those removalists are reportedly linked to the Green Valley woman found dead on Monday.

She is the youngest COVID-19 death in Australia since a Victorian man died in August 2020 and the first NSW death of a person aged under 60 since April 2020, according to data compilation website covid19data.com.au.

NSW hospitals are treating 82 COVID-19 patients, including 24 in intensive care. Seven people are on ventilators.

A full list of NSW exposure sites can be found at health.nsw.gov.au

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