New South Wales has recorded Australia’s highest-ever daily increase in COVID infections, with 825 new locally -acquired cases.
It is the highest from any jurisdiction in the country since the pandemic began.
At least 96 of those were in the community for all or part of their infectious period.
Three people in their 80s and 90s have died, two of whom were residents of Greenwood Aged Care in Normanhurst and acquired their infections in the aged care facility after an unvaccinated staff member worked two shifts while unknowingly infectious.
The third death is a woman in her 90s from south west Sydney who died at Liverpool Hospital. She caught the infection in the hospital’s geriatric ward, taking the number of deaths connected to that outbreak to 10.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said while case numbers were going up, the “more important figure” was the number of vaccinations.
‘Buying ourselves time’
“Once you get to 70 per cent double doses, it will be a situation where the vaccine rate will be more critical than how many cases we have,” she said.
“The key measure for us is to keep people out of hospital.”
She stressed the importance of community vaccinations, saying if the current vaccination trajectory continued NSW would meet its vaccine deadlines earlier.
“Whilst we are in lockdown we are buying ourselves time to get our vaccination rates where they need to be and then we can move forward and live freely,” she said.
“When we do start opening up, we don’t want the unvaccinated to be unprotected.
“Everybody should get the vaccine now. Don’t be fussy.”
Of the new cases, 290 are from Western Sydney Local Health District, 253 are from South Western Sydney, 69 are from Sydney LHD, 65 are from Nepean Blue Mountains, and 61 are from South Eastern Sydney health district.
Hundreds of police officers have been deployed in central Sydney today to disrupt another planned anti-lockdown protest.
More than 1,500 officers will be stationed around the CBD, and a police helicopter began circling above the protest’s planned starting point from around 10am.
Trains are skipping major Sydney train stations, taxis and Ubers are banned from city zones, and traffic is slowing to a crawl as police fend off a planned anti-lockdown protest.
Police issue warning to protesters
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said he hoped the significant police presence would deter people from turning up.
“If they choose to do so, they will be met by police and turned around. If need be, they will be issued infringement notices,” he said.
A party in Maroubra, attended by up to 60 people, has led to 16 positive cases.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard condemned the revellers, and also criticised hundreds of people who attended a funeral in western NSW.
“Many of those people are now returned to the far flung parts of our state and I’m already hearing from our health system that there are cases that are positive in various communities and those will probably grow in the next few days,” Mr Hazzard said.
“There is no time now to be selfish.”
The persistently high numbers have led Premier Berejiklian to prolong stay-at-home orders in Sydney until at least September 30 and impose harsher rules on a dozen hotspot local government areas, including a curfew from 9pm to 5am.
From Monday, mask-wearing will be mandatory for all people in NSW when outdoors, except when exercising.
Construction sites will also face a compliance blitz as SafeWork NSW officers hunt for rule-breakers this weekend.
SBS is providing live translations of daily New South Wales and Victoria COVID-19 press conferences in various languages. Click here for more information.