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Greater Sydney lockdown extended as NSW records 644 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases

New South Wales has recorded 644 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths on Friday, as authorities announce the Greater Sydney lockdown will be extended until 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.

Of the new cases on Friday, 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.

Today’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.

Mask wearing mandatory, new rules in LGAs of concern

From Monday night, residents across NSW will also have to wear masks outdoors unless they are exercising.

“Our concern is that when people are walking past a group of people or accidentally bumping into people that, that can cause that fleeting contact can cause transmission, and even when you’re exercising, you need to have the mask unless you’re doing some strenuous exercise.”

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.

The premier also urged everyone to use click and collect services.

Ms Berejiklian said suburbs of western and southwestern 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.

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.

Permits for regional travel

Health authorities introduced a permit system for travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW on Friday morning, which will take effect from 12.01 on Saturday 21 August.

Under the updated public health order, a permit will be needed for anyone from Greater Sydney (including authorised workers from the LGAs of concern) who needs 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).

For further information on the state’s COVID-19 rules, click here.

There were 127,590 COVID-19 tests reported to 8pm last night.