New South Wales has recorded 644 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths, as authorities announce the Greater Sydney lockdown will be extended until at least the end of September.
But the Central Coast and Shell Harbour will be defined as regional, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
The lockdown in rural and regional communities will continue until at least 28 August.
The premier also announced a slew of new restrictions on Friday, including mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers, mandatory mask wearing outdoors, increased police powers, and curfews and limits on exercise in LGAs of concern.
From Saturday, Greater Sydney residents will also need a permit to enter regional NSW.
Of Friday’s new cases, 65 were in isolation throughout their infectious period and 30 were in isolation for part of their infectious period. Forty-one cases were infectious in the community, and the isolation status of 506 cases remains under investigation.
The latest deaths include a woman in her 80s from Sydney’s inner west who died at Royal North Shore Hospital. She was a resident at Wyoming Aged Care Facility and is the fourth death linked to the cluster.
A man in his 70s from south-east Sydney died at St George Hospital, where he acquired his infection, while a man in his 80s from western Sydney died at Nepean Hospital. There have now been two deaths linked to the outbreak at Nepean Hospital.
A woman in her 80s from south-west Sydney also died at Campbelltown Hospital.
Friday’s figures bring the number of COVID-related deaths to 65 since 16 June, and the number of lives lost in NSW to 121 since the beginning of the pandemic.
There are currently 470 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 80 people in intensive care, 27 of whom require ventilation.
Ms Berejiklian said suburbs of western and south-western Sydney remained the primary areas of concern.
Of the 644 new locally acquired cases, 256 are from western Sydney, 222 are from south- western Sydney, 47 are from Sydney LHD, 35 are from Nepean Blue Mountains, 27 are from western NSW, five are from south-eastern Sydney, eight are from northern Sydney, three are from Hunter New England, three are from far west NSW, three are from the Central Coast, two are from Southern NSW and one is from the state’s mid north coast LHD.
Twelve cases are yet to be assigned.
Providing an update for regional NSW, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the state were also aware of three new cases in Wilcannia and two more in Broken Hill.
NSW Health’s ongoing sewage surveillance program has also detected fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 at the Cobar, Port Macquarie, Parkes, Coonamble and Bellambi sewage treatment plants in recent days, with people with symptoms in those areas urged to get tested.
A full list of NSW exposure sites can be found here.
The premier said the new restrictions announced on Friday were in response to the sudden escalation of cases this week and feedback from police about people breaking the rules.
“For that reason, I asked health and police to work together, to give me a final list of what we can throw at this, to leave no shadow of a doubt as to how serious we are about getting the rate of growth down, the case numbers down. I do not want to leave a shadow of a doubt,” she said.
Vaccine and mask wearing mandates
All healthcare workers across NSW must get their first COVID-19 vaccination by 30 September.
From Monday, residents across NSW will also have to wear masks both indoors and outdoors unless they are exercising.
“Our concern is that when people are walking past a group of people or accidentally bumping into people, that can cause that fleeting contact [that] can cause transmission, and even when you’re exercising, you need to have the mask unless you’re doing some strenuous exercise,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Parents are also strongly encouraged to keep their children out of childcare from Monday.
New rules in LGAs of concern
In the 12 Sydney LGAs of concern, a curfew from 9pm to 5am will apply from Monday while exercise for residents will be limited to one hour per day.
“This is based on police feedback received in the last few days about the type of activity that’s unfortunately being carried out by a small number of people, but as we said Delta doesn’t leave any room for error,” Ms Berejiklian said.
In the LGAs of concern, garden centres, plant nurseries and stores settling office supplies, hardware and building supplies, landscaping supplies, rural supplies and pet supplies must also close except for click and collect.
All educational activities, bar HSC exams, will also move online.
Police now have powers to enter residential premises considered a COVID risk.
“These are premises where we have received information from health that there is a positive COVID case … These welfare visits are not just about making sure people comply with the health orders, police and defence have come across people who are gravely ill and possibly would have died,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.
From 28 August, authorised workers from the 12 LGAS of concern will be required to carry a Service NSW permit declaring they are an authorised worker and cannot work from home. Anyone entering an LGA of concern for work must also carry a worker permit issued by Service NSW.
“This is all about stopping the transmission of the virus from the areas of concern … to the rest of Greater Sydney and certainly regional NSW,” Commissioner Fuller said.
Childcare workers and disability support workers who live or work in these 12 LGAs must also get their first coronavirus jab by 30 August.
By this date, authorised workers who work outside their council area can only work if rapid antigen testing is implemented at their worksite or if they’d had their first vaccination.
Permits for regional travel
From midnight on Saturday, anyone traveling from Greater Sydney to regional NSW will also need a travel permit.
Permits will be available for people (including authorised workers from the LGAs of concern) who need to travel more than 50km for work purposes, people travelling to a second home outside Greater Sydney (if they are using the home for work accommodation or if the home requires urgent maintenance and repairs) and people inspecting a potential new residence (but only if they have a genuine intention to relocate).
“The permit system is to help individuals to better understand their rights and what they can do lawfully. These additional powers, including the curfews, were from a police perspective, about stopping the spread of the virus,” Commissioner Fuller said.
For further information on the state’s COVID-19 rules, click here.
There were 127,590 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night.
SBS is providing live translations of daily New South Wales and Victoria COVID-19 press conferences in various languages.Click here for more information.