NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declares Covid-19 outbreak a national emergency, after recording 136 new cases. Video / Sky News
New South Wales has recorded 163 new cases overnight – the highest daily infections so far.
There were 93,900 tests as at 8pm last night.
The figure is an alarming climb from yesterday’s record of 136 which prompted Premier Gladys Berejiklian to declare a state of emergency and openly plead to the Prime Minister for more vaccines.
It comes amid concerns the outbreak is spreading south, with virus fragments detected in wastewater at Moss Vale in the Southern Highlands.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced the figure at today’s daily briefing, saying: “what it is telling us is we have a continuing and growing problem, particularly in southwest and western Sydney.”
Speaking at today’s press briefing on the further rise in cases, Mr Hazzard emphasised that Sydneysiders must stay home.
“I want to stress again that when we look at the numbers, what we see is transmission particularly as a result of family members getting together when they just should not be getting together.
“We also are seeing transmission in shops and in other workplaces. Again, the message to the community is we really do need – you have come out in great numbers to be tested, but we don’t want you out at all from your home unless you are allowed to come out for one of the reasons that our Chief Health Officer and her team have advised that you can come out for.”
Of the 163 cases, 66 were household contacts, 25 were close contacts and “very worryingly” 45 were infectious out in the community.
“In other words, 45 people were out walking around and potentially spreading the virus which certainly explains why our numbers are going up,” Mr Hazzard said.
Military could enforce ‘indefinite’ lockdown
NSW is bracing for another rise in Covid-19 cases today after a record rise yesterday and a state of emergency being declared.
Amid the concerning case numbers, the state’s lockdown is set to remain until mass vaccination, and the Government is considering military assistance to stop the Delta strain spread.
According to a source quoted by the Daily Telegraph, troops may be brought in to guard barriers set up around Sydney as the Government works to “harden the lockdown” and ensure safe travel out of “hot zones”.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday confirmed there were 136 new Covid-19 cases detected in the state and announced new restrictions.
Two local government areas in Sydney’s west will be locked out from the rest of the city.
Residents of Cumberland Shire and Blacktown will be prohibited from leaving their suburbs unless they are health or emergency workers, or are otherwise deemed “essential”.
NSW Health today issued 46 new alerts for venues potentially exposed to coronavirus, and authorities also warned anyone in the Southern Highlands to watch for symptoms after a positive wastewater detection.
Fragments of the virus were detected at a sewage treatment plant at Moss Vale.
“There are no known cases in this area, which is of great concern,” a spokeswoman said.
Victoria records 12 local cases
Meanwhile, Victoria has recorded 12 new locally acquired cases today, all linked to current outbreaks.
Ten of the 12 cases were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period.
Just under 40,000 tests were carried out during the reporting period.
On Friday, 14 new local cases were identified — all linked to known outbreaks — while there were no new cases reported in returned travellers.
Premier Daniel Andrews hinted on Friday the statewide lockdown could end on Tuesday night because the results were very encouraging.
“It is difficult for us on Friday to be able to predict what will happen next Tuesday at midnight, but I would say that the trend is with us,” he said.
“These results are very encouraging, they are positive. Whether the next few days continue that way we will only know with the passage of time.”
Rush home for 20,000 Kiwis
The rush home for up to 20,000-odd Kiwis in Australia is on after the suspension of the transtasman bubble and a seven-day deadline for getting back without the need for an MIQ voucher – which are all currently taken.
Yesterday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the overall risk from Australia was low, but the threat of the Delta variant and the risk of “seepage” across state borders triggered the need for the suspension.
It came into force at midnight last night and will remain for at least eight weeks.
“My strong message to every New Zealander in Australia who has no intention of staying there long term is, come home. We’re giving you seven days,” Ardern said, though she added it might be extended.
“If you stay beyond that period, you will have to enter into the MIQ booking system like everyone else, and at that point we cannot guarantee when you’ll be able to get a voucher.”
There are currently no MIQ rooms available. Rooms beyond November are yet to be released.