Covid NSW: Three schools shut down as virus spreads outside of Sydney

·3-min read

The Delta outbreak in NSW has spread further out of Sydney, forcing three schools to close for cleaning after five students tested positive to Covid-19.

Staff and students at a Central Coast primary school, a high school in southern Lake Macquarie and a school near Newcastle have been told to get tested and isolate, as contact tracers scramble to assess transmission risks.

The new cases have prompted Premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce a one-week snap lockdown for the Hunter and Upper Hunter region.

It comes after five people died of Covid-19 and local case numbers jumped by 262 - the state's worst day of the pandemic this year. 

Health authorities believe the Hunter infections can be linked to a gathering ay Blacksmiths Beach on Friday night. 

A picture of the front of Morisset High School. Source: Facebook/Morisset High School
Lake Munmorah Public School and Morisset High School have been closed for cleaning after three students tested positive to Covid-19. Source: Facebook/Morisset High School

The principals at Lake Munmorah Public School and Morisset High School wrote to parents overnight, advising them that two students tested positive to COVID-19 at the primary school, and one at the high school. Two of the students are siblings.

“The safety and wellbeing of our staff and students is of paramount importance to us at all times. As such we will continue to work closely with NSW Health to ensure that all necessary health advice is adhered to," Lake Munmorah Public School Principal Narelle Baldwin posted to Facebook.

“While we recognise this will be disruptive and inconvenient for families, it is important that we follow NSW Health advice and take all necessary precautions to minimise the risk of further transmission to support our community.”

Maitland Christian School near Newcastle is the latest school to temporarily close, with parents advised this morning to "collect your children immediately, even if you are an essential worker."

A screenshot of post on the Lake Munmorah Public School Facebook page advising staff, parents and students of the positive cases. Source: Facebook/Lake Munmorah Public School
The schools have been closed immediately to allow for contact tracing and cleaning. Source: Facebook/Lake Munmorah Public School

Hunter region hit with Covid alert after vaccines sent to Sydney

The new cases and snap lockdown comes a day after the Hunter region was put on high alert because fragments of the virus were detected in the sewerage.

It follows the controversial decision to divert Pfizer doses away from regional areas to vaccinate year 12 students in Sydney.

The move was met with intense backlash as thousands of vaccine appointments were cancelled at vaccine hubs across the state, including the centre at Belmont, which services the Hunter.

A supplied image obtained on Monday, July 19, 2021, shows inside the newly opened mass vaccination centre in Belmont, Lake Macquarie. The mass vaccination centre in Belmont, Lake Macquarie. Source: AAP
Appointments at the Belmont mass vaccination centre at Lake Macquarie have been postponed after supply was diverted to Sydney. Source: AAP

Until now, there have been no recent local cases in the Hunter and it wasn't part of the lockdown for Sydney and surrounding areas.

The Belmont, Burwood and Shortland plants cover more than 400,000 people across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and southern Port Stephens.

The Central Coast is included in the Greater Sydney lockdown and has been subject to strict restrictions.

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