news

All of NSW locked down amid jump in cases: What you need to know about COVID-19 this weekend.

Entire state of NSW locked down.

The NSW Government has announced that the entire state will be placed under week-long stay-at-home orders from 5pm Saturday, in an effort to prevent further COVID-19 cases in regional areas.

Twenty-six new cases were reported in the state's west overnight, sparking increased concern about the fragile regional healthcare system's ability to cope with outbreaks.

The restrictions replace any existing orders in place in regional NSW and will last until 12 a.m. August 22.

Residents will no be permitted to leave their homes without a reasonable excuse and cannot have visitors. One person can attend another home to fulfil carer responsibilities or for compassionate reasons, including to visit a person they're in a relationship with.

All hospitality venues will be restricted to takeaway only and retail premises must close. Among the retailers allowed to remain open are those selling food, hardware and garden supplies, pet supplies, baby/maternity supplies and pharmacies.

There will be a one-day 'grace period' for planned weddings and funerals in the regional areas that have not already been subject to a lockdown. Those events may go ahead until 12.01 a.m on Monday, but only with guests from areas that have not already been subject to a lockdown. 

Sydney case numbers make an "extremely concerning" jump.

NSW has recorded a record 466 community cases of COVID-19, a jump of 121 on Friday's result

The state also recorded four deaths, bringing the total death toll for the latest outbreak to 43. The new fatalities involved a woman in her 40s in palliative care, a man in his 70s who was vaccinated but did have preexisting conditions, a man in his 80s, and a woman in her 70s.

ADVERTISEMENT

There are currently 378 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital in NSW, with 64 people in intensive care, 29 of whom require ventilation.

Describing the situation as "extremely concerning", Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that while case numbers in Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown have stabilised, they are rising in Blacktown, Doonside, Mount Druitt, Maryland, Guildford and Auburn.

Twenty-six cases were also recorded in the regional city Dubbo and surrounding areas.

Premier Berejiklian again stressed vaccination as the path out of lockdown, with the state currently sitting at 50 per cent of eligible residents having received their first dose.

"The key to our freedom is 70 per cent double dose and we estimate New South Wales will be at that at the end of October," she said.

Stricter lockdown rules imposed for Greater Sydney.

Amid the surge of the Delta variant, the NSW Government announced harsher restrictions for residents of Greater Sydney.

Residents will now be restricted to travelling 5km from their home for exercise and shopping, down from the previous rule of 10km. 

There will also be an enhanced police presence in the 12 LGAs of concern, with additional random checkpoints in place at key roads.

About 500 extra Australian Defence Force officers will also be deployed, following a request from NSW Police for assistance in monitoring compliance.

Rules for single bubbles in those LGAs of concern have also been tightened. People will now need to formally register the name of their buddy with NSW Health, and that person must live within 5km.

ADVERTISEMENT

From next Saturday, residents of Greater Sydney will also need a permit to travel to regional NSW. 

Meanwhile, the state also stepped up restrictions on people visiting their holiday homes. 

People from Greater Sydney are now not allowed to travel to their second residences except when granted a permit for special circumstances, such as maintenance. In that event, only one person will be able to attend.

Victoria's lockdown "highly unlikely" to lift on schedule.

Victoria has recorded 21 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases.

Health officials say they are all linked to previously reported cases and 11 were in quarantine during their entire infectious period. The state now has 163 active cases. 

Victoria administered 29,490 vaccine doses in the 24 hours to Friday evening and conducted 33,675 tests for the virus during the same period.

Meanwhile, Australia's biggest mall, Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne, has been declared a COVID-19 exposure site.

The centre was declared a Tier Two site on Friday night.

Anyone who was at Chadstone between 4.26pm and 5.40pm on Saturday, August 7 must take a COVID test and isolate until they receive a negative result.

The Coles supermarket within the shopping centre has also been listed.

There are now more than 450 exposure sites in Melbourne including Highpoint Shopping Centre and several large apartment blocks.

ADVERTISEMENT

Melbourne is in the second week of its sixth lockdown, brought on to contain several Delta variant outbreaks.

But contact tracers are racing to discover the source of concerning mystery cases, with 13 emerging in the past three days.

Of the 15 locally acquired coronavirus cases reported on Friday, the origin of four was under investigation and seven were out in the community while infectious.

Professor Adrian Esterman, an epidemiologist and biostatistician at the University of South Australia, believes Melbourne will get on top of its Delta variant outbreaks, but not by August 19 when the lockdown is due to end.

"I would say it's highly unlikely," he told AAP.

"I don't think that lockdown will finish... until you're in single digits and have no mystery cases."

Unexpected wastewater detections have also arisen in the regional areas of Shepparton and Lakes Entrance, where there are no known active cases or current exposure sites.

ACT records new case.

The Australian Capital Territory has recorded one new locally acquired case of COVID-19, a close contact of an existing case.

The new case takes the territory's total in the current outbreak to seven, with the ACT in lockdown until at least Thursday.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said there were more than 4,500 tests on Friday, "a record day of testing in the ACT".

He said hundreds of tests had already been completed on Saturday, but acknowledged there were "significant delays" at testing sites.

ADVERTISEMENT

Meanwhile, health authorities remain baffled about how a Canberra high school student with no known travel outside the ACT or link to exposure sites tested positive to COVID-19.

Urgent genomic testing is underway in relation to the 14-year-old from Gold Creek School in the city's north, who had been infectious at school from Monday to Wednesday.

All students and teachers at the school are being treated as close contacts.

On Friday, Chief Minister Barr said the territory would need to record no local cases before an end to the lockdown could be announced.

Queensland continues successful streak.

Queensland has recorded six new locally acquired cases, all linked to the Indooroopilly cluster with none infectious while in the community.

The cases include a one-year-old sibling of a child already in hospital and five adults connected to Brisbane Boys' Grammar School and Ironside State School.

One case was recorded in hotel quarantine, a four-year-old child who has arrived from Cambodia. 

It comes as some Brisbane families are beginning to emerge from their quarantine periods, but isolation continues for households with infected members, where the 14-day quarantine period is reset for each new case.

There are health orders in place for anyone who's returned from the ACT, with people arriving in Queensland after 1am Saturday to spend a fortnight in hotel quarantine.

ADVERTISEMENT

Those in Queensland who have returned from the ACT on or after August 9 must immediately go into home quarantine and get tested.

WA to introduce 'vaccine passport' rules for returning residents.

Western Australia will demand arrivals from NSW prove they have had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine under tough new arrangements.

Travellers must also provide proof of a negative PCR test in the 72 hours prior to departure, Premier Mark McGowan announced on Friday.

The measures will come into effect from Tuesday when NSW will move to a beefed-up "high risk" category under WA's controlled border regime.

"Given what is happening in NSW, there's no sign of the situation improving over coming weeks," Premier McGowan told reporters.

"These are tough measures but they are necessary to protect the state."

NSW, the ACT, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia are already subject to a hard border, denying entry to the vast majority of travellers.

The new rules apply to Western Australians in NSW who receive compassionate exemptions to return to their home state.

The WA Government has indicated the rules will come into effect for any state that records more than 50 cases per day.

— With AAP.

Feature Image: Getty.

Want to win $50? Take our 3 minute survey now:
MMSurvey