NSW has recorded more than 800 new Covid-19 cases for the third successive day, with the premier urging people to not focus on cases but on the rising vaccination numbers.
On Monday, 818 new Covid-19 cases were announced on Monday, with three more Covid deaths recorded.
Last week, 738,000 people in NSW were vaccinated, taking the state's total to 5.9 million, just shy of the six million goal set for the end of August.
“I want to stress that we are going through the rollercoaster ride of emotions as case numbers go up and down. I don't want us to focus so much on the numbers going up and down,” the premier said.
“We want to see them go down, no doubt about that, and we're working so hard to make it possible, but the number we need to focus on is a vaccination rate.”
Dr Marianne Gale confirmed there are 586 Covid patients in hospital and there are now 100 people in the intensive care unit.
“Of the 100 cases in ICU, 87 of those people are not vaccinated,” she said.
Millions wake to tighter lockdown restrictions
Monday marks the first day of tighter restrictions for the millions of people in the 12 local government areas (LGAs) in Sydney.
From today, people in the 12 LGAs of concern have a 9pm to 5am curfew, must wear a mask whenever they leave their home, even outdoors and can only exercise outdoors for one hour a day.
Ms Berejiklian warned western and southwestern Sydney remain of “greater concern” and are still seeing the highest number of cases.
She mentioned Guildford, Auburn, Greystanes, Blacktown, surrounding suburbs as areas of concern.
The Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the Western NSW remains a region of concern, with 24 new cases being recorded in the region, 14 were in Dubbo.
Mr Barilaro said Far West NSW recorded only three new cases on Monday, but 15 cases reported after the 8pm cut-off are of concern and will be included in tomorrow's numbers.
NSW surpassed 800 daily cases on both Saturday and Sunday, with 825 and 830 cases respectively, making Sunday's total the highest any Australian state or territory has recorded amid the pandemic.
Of the three deaths reported on Monday, is a man in his 80s from Sydney's south-west, who died at Liverpool Hospital, where he acquired the infection.
The man is the 11th death linked to the cluster at the hospital's geriatric ward.
Another man aged in his 80s from Newcastle died at John Hunter Hospital, after acquiring his infection at the RFBI Hawkins Masonic Village in Edgeworth.
He is the second death linked to the outbreak at the aged care facility.
The third death is a woman also aged in her 80s, she was from south-west Sydney and died at Campbelltown Hospital.
Vaccinations a 'race against time'
The premier praised the "outstanding" work people in NSW have done amid the outbreak, which has seen 13,022 locally acquired cases reported since June 16.
"The number of people coming forward and getting vaccinated is outstanding and when I looked at figures over the weekend showing that NSW has some of the highest vaccination rates in the world - not just Australia - that's something that we can actually cling on to and be proud of," she said.
She added when Victoria was grappling with its second wave last year, the vaccine wasn't available, which is why NSW hasn't seen as many deaths as Victoria did.
The premier reiterated vaccination is key as Australia moves forward and begins to open up to the world.
"I also acknowledge that every state is going to have to go through this transition one way or another," she said.
"But once you start opening your border, every state is going to see case numbers and that's why we just have to get used to the fact that our aim during the pandemic is to keep people safe and healthy and keep them out of hospital, but trying to get to normal life as soon as we can."
Ms Berejiklian said NSW has been "successful" in preventing thousands of daily locally-acquired cases, though some experts said thousands of cases could be a reality in the weeks to come.
ACT records 16 new Covid cases
Canberra has recorded another 16 coronavirus cases, taking the ACT's outbreak to 137, halfway through its three-week lockdown scheduled to run until September 2.
Of Monday's new cases, 13 were linked and three people were in the community while infectious, while federal parliament resumed with reduced numbers and many politicians attended remotely.
Scott Morrison declared lockdowns will be unsustainable once widespread vaccination coverage is achieved, in another warning shot to state premiers.
National cabinet has set vaccine coverage thresholds of 70 and 80 per cent to reduce the chances of lockdowns and move towards more normal settings.
"That is our goal - to live with this virus, not to live in fear of it," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
Updated Doherty Institute modelling will be presented to a national cabinet meeting of the country's leaders on Friday.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the initial research was based on reopening with 30 cases in the community.
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