|14UN chief willing to speak to TalibanCzech film festival to honor Michael Caine, Ethan Hawke© (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images) A police officer holds a sign to stop traffic at a compliance road block in the suburb of Guildford on August 19, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. New South Wales recorded 681 COVID-19 cases and one death in the last 24 hours. The entire state of NSW is now in lockdown as health authorities work to contain the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant.
Greater Sydney’s COVID-19 lockdown has been extended until the end of September and a raft of new restrictions — including a curfew — will be introduced after NSW recorded 644 new infections.
It means the lockdown, which has already lasted for eight weeks, will run for at least 13.
A curfew will be introduced for people in Sydney’s 12 local government areas (LGAs) of concern, which are already subjected to extra restrictions because they are virus hot spots.
From midnight on Monday, August 23, people in Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith and Strathfield must stay home between 9:00pm and 5:00am.
It will also be mandatory for everyone to wear a mask while outside their home in NSW from midnight on Monday, unless they are exercising.
In Sydney’s LGAs of concern, people may only exercise outdoors for one hour per day from Monday.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian described the new restrictions as “final measures”.
“The reason we are extending lockdown for another month and the reason we are imposing these additional measures in those local government areas of concern is because the vaccine takes at least two to three weeks of the first those who have effects,” she said.
“We are throwing everything at this and doing everything we can and now it is time to bunker down.”
She said new LGAs could be added to the areas of concern if more cases were detected.
“On the flip side, if we see a particular local government area respond well in terms of the case numbers we can take those areas out,” she said.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the evidence around the efficacy of curfews was “mixed” but did not want to “leave any stone unturned”.
“Health has supported the curfew and that is because we want to do everything we can,” Dr Chant.
“I am asking everyone to hang with us for the next four to six weeks. Buckle down.
“I do not want to be standing here every day announcing deaths.”
Ms Berejiklian said the Central Coast and Shellharbour, which had previously been considered part of Greater Sydney for the purposes of COVID-19 lockdowns, would now be classified as regional areas.
Restrictions for workplaces and authorised workers from the LGAs of concern have also been ramped up.
Childcare workers and disability workers who live and work in those 12 LGAs must have their first vaccination dose by August 30.
From the same date, authorised workers from an area of concern who work outside their LGA will only be permitted to work if rapid antigen testing — which can produce a result in 15 minutes — is implemented at their workplace, or if they’ve had their first vaccine.
NSW Police have also been granted additional powers to enforce the new curfew restrictions, including being able to designate a person to self-isolate for two weeks.
“If someone enters an LGA of concern without excuse, not only will they be fined, they will be sent home and they will have to self isolate for 14 days,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.
The Commissioner said police officers would also have the power to lock down apartment blocks which they consider a COVID-19 risk, before health authorities come in to do their assessments.
Off today’s 644 infections, 508 cases have not yet been linked to a known source of cluster.
Two were acquired in the ACT.
Forty-one were infectious while in the community, 30 were in isolation for part of their infectious period, and the isolation status of 506 cases remains under investigation.
There were four COVID-19 deaths in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday, all of whom were aged in their 70s and 80s.
A woman in her 80s from the Wyoming Nursing Home in Summer Hill died at Royal North Shore Hospital, and is the fourth death linked to an outbreak at that aged-care facility.
A man in his 80s died after contracting COVID-19 at Nepean Hospital and is the second death linked to that outbreak.
A man in his 70s died at St George Hospital after becoming infected there, and a woman in her 80s died at Campbelltown Hospital.
Both men had received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
There have been 65 deaths in NSW since this latest COVID-19 outbreak began on June 16.
There are currently 470 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 80 people in intensive care, 27 of whom are on ventilators.
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