Covid reaches Hunter after beach party
Hunter area locked down for one week
Two schools closed in Lake Macquarie
NSW's Hunter, Upper Hunter and Lake Macquarie regions will enter lockdown at 5pm on Thursday after cases were detected in the area, believed to have spread from a beach party.
The state's premier Gladys Berejiklian made the announcement on Thursday as 262 new local cases and five deaths related to the Delta outbreak were recorded.
The new lockdown will impact almost 750,000 people in the local government areas of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook.
It is expected to end next Thursday.
Covid spreads in the Hunter from beach party
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said five people in the Hunter region have been diagnosed with Covid after a party on Blacksmith Beach, south of Newcastle, on Friday night.
Dr Chant said she believes someone from the Greater Sydney area attended the party and introduced Covid to the area.
"Our strongest focus... is getting to the bottom of how the disease was transmitted and introduced into Newcastle," she said.
Schools closed in Lake Macquarie area
Five cases were detected in students at three Hunter schools a day after Dr Chant warned fragments of the virus had been found in the region's wastewater system.
Lake Munmorah Public School is closed for cleaning after two students were detected with the virus. One student at Morisset High School has also tested positive. Two of the students are siblings.
Maitland Christian School near Newcastle is the latest school to temporarily close.
"All of the parents and the children are asked to go home and isolate and we'll provide further advice as we work through the days that the children were infectious and who they had contact with during that time," Dr Chant said.
Hunter lockdown to operate under Sydney Covid rules
Ms Berejiklian said the week-long Hunter lockdown would operate similar to what occurred in Orange last month, adding that residents will only be allowed to leave home for the four essential reasons.
"I want to confirm the arrangements in the eight local government areas will be exactly the same as exists in Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast," she said.
"So that means no school and the same stay at home provisions apply."
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