NSW has recorded an alarming spike in locally acquired Covid-19 cases as concern grows current restrictions rolled out across Sydney are not having their desired effect.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced a further 44 community cases on Friday – the highest daily total since the outbreak began on June 16.
Twenty-nine of those cases were partly or fully in the community while infectious.
"We can't see that continue," Ms Berejiklian said.
"When you see the fact that the numbers of cases are going up in the community substantially, we are extremely concerned that we need to turn the tide.
"This is the opposite of where we need or want the numbers to trend."
She envisaged the daily numbers to spike even higher in the coming days.
On Thursday, the state recorded 38 local cases, 20 of which had spent part of or the entirety of their infectious period in the community, an alarming statistic Ms Berejiklian warned was far too high.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said there was no excuse for not taking the outbreak seriously.
"This is an incredibly challenging time and I want to stress I am incredibly concerned. I need all members of the community to follow the public health advice," she said.
Ten Covid-19 patients in NSW are in intensive care, with four ventilated. One person in ICU is aged in their 20s.
The 44 reported cases came from more than 42,000 tests – a testing rate Ms Berejiklian said needed to be much higher.
NSW Premier tightens lockdown
A frustrated Ms Berejiklian said there were still people failing to grasp the rules, for example, members of the community were still contacting Service NSW asking how many people were allowed into their homes.
"I am concerned that too many people who are currently subject to stay at home orders haven't been appreciating what they need to do," she said.
Amid calls for a harsher lockdown, Ms Berejiklian announced a tightening of restrictions.
People will no longer be able to exercise in groups of 10, with a two-person limit now enforced. Those wanting to exercise will only be allowed to travel 10km from their homes to do so.
Only one person will be allowed to leave the home at a time to go shopping for essentials.
Funeral attendance will now be capped at 10 people.
"We are facing the greatest threat that we have faced in New South Wales and the pandemic started," Ms Berejiklian said.
"And it is up to all of us to turn things around."
The new rules will be enforced from 5pm on Friday.
Twenty-one of Friday's reported cases were in southwest Sydney, where previously health authorities expressed concerned the virus had now seeded.
Premier reveals what state must achieve for lockdown to end
Ms Berejiklian gave her first real indication of what is required for the lockdown to come to an end.
She said the state must reach "zero or close to zero" new cases moving around the community before restrictions can be eased.
The premier hinted it was becoming increasingly unlikely lockdown would end as planned on July 16.
Dr Chant revealed in the space of 24 hours, close contacts had doubled from 7,000 to 14,000 as exposure sites around Sydney continue to balloon.
Among the new venues of concern is the Ikea Tempe store. Anyone who visited the store between 10am and 9pm on July 6 must get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days regardless of their result.
NSW Health said about 2000 people were linked to the exposure site.
Attempting to clarify the lockdown rules on outings, both the premier and chief health officer said outings should be kept to an absolute minimum.
"We do not want you to go out of the house unless you are very clear on the purpose and intent of why you are going out of the house," Dr Chant said.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.