Covid-19 Australia: NSW records 291 new Covid-19 cases

New South Wales has registered 291 new cases of Covid-19 amid warnings that the record number of infections is likely to rise in the coming days.

Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian warned the number of cases was likely to skyrocket after noting that 50 people were in the community while they were contagious.

“We will likely see this trend continue in the coming days,” she said at a press conference on Friday

“Everyone needs to get ready for bigger numbers in the coming days, just based on the trend of the past few days and where it’s headed.

“I expect more cases in the coming days and they just wanted to be prepared for that.”

The new cases come as the Newcastle and Hunter regions join Greater Sydney in lockdown and begin the first of their seven-day home orders.

The swift shutdown was called after five new cases surfaced in Newcastle and another eight in the Central Coast region on Thursday.

The new cases come after Newcastle and Hunter regions joined Greater Sydney in lockdown and started the first of their seven-day home orders on Friday.

The new cases come as Newcastle and Hunter regions join Greater Sydney in lockdown and begin the first of their seven-day home orders

The new cases come as Newcastle and Hunter regions join Greater Sydney in lockdown and begin the first of their seven-day home orders

News of the impending lockdown sparked massive panic buying across the region, with supermarket shelves being stripped of essential items (pictured in Rutherford, Maitland)

News of the impending lockdown sparked massive panic buying across the region, with supermarket shelves being stripped of essential items (pictured in Rutherford, Maitland)

Local government areas affected are Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr. Kerry Chant said the outbreak in the Hunter region was almost certainly linked to a party held last Friday night at Blacksmiths Beach south of Newcastle.

She said authorities believe some at the party may have broken the laws to travel there from Sydney, despite the city’s residents being banned from regional NSW for non-essential reasons.

News of the impending lockdown sparked mass panic buying across the region, with supermarket shelves being stripped of essential items.

The state saw 262 new local cases reported Wednesday, at least 72 of which were in the community while contagious.

Five people died within 24 hours until 8 p.m. Wednesday — three men in their sixties, one man in their seventies and one woman in their eighties. None of them were fully vaccinated.

It was the deadliest day of the pandemic and recorded the highest daily number of cases.

Also in NSW, a 34-year-old woman died of a rare clotting syndrome caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration reported Thursday.

Six people have now died from the condition, out of approximately 6.8 million doses of vaccine.

Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian says vaccination is the way out of the crisis that has shut down Greater Sydney for nearly six weeks.

She said restrictions will remain in one form or another until 80 percent of people are vaccinated, and wants 50 percent to be vaccinated by the end of the month.

While Ms Berejiklian has emphasized vaccines as a solution to ending restrictions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the most important measure is lockdown.

At at least a week’s national cabinet meeting, all prime ministers and prime ministers agreed that lockdowns would become much ‘less likely’ when 70 percent of Aussies are vaccinated and would be nearly obsolete once 80 percent are vaccinated.

According to Morrison’s four-step plan for reopening, a state or territory can move to Phase B when the national vaccination rate reaches 70 percent and the rate in that state also reaches 70 percent.

Morrison said he hopes this stage will be reached before the end of the year, but warned the timing “depends entirely on how the nation responds to this challenge we are setting ourselves.”

While Ms Berejiklian has emphasized vaccines as a solution to ending restrictions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the most important measure is the lockdown

While Ms Berejiklian has emphasized vaccines as a solution to ending restrictions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the most important measure is the lockdown

In a Coles in Mayfield, a series of shelves of raw chicken meat had also been stripped bare with only a few items left.

In a Coles in Mayfield, a series of shelves of raw chicken meat had also been stripped bare with only a few items left.

Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian says vaccination is the way out of crisis that has shut down Greater Sydney for nearly six weeks

Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian says vaccination is the way out of crisis that has shut down Greater Sydney for nearly six weeks

This phase makes lockdowns ‘less likely’ and gives doubly vaccinated people ‘special rules’ to give them more freedom than Aussies who refuse a shot.

‘If you get vaccinated, there are special rules for you. Why? Because if you’re vaccinated, you’re less at risk to public health,” Morrison said.

A ‘small working group’ has been set up with the Northern Territory, Victoria and Tasmania to determine which restrictions do not apply to double-vaccinated.

The prime minister warned that some local phase B lockdowns may be necessary, but ‘broad metropolitan lockdowns’ will not be necessary.

“Lockdowns in phase B are less likely, but they are possible … they may be necessary, but they are not something you would normally expect,” he said.

“Once we get to phase B, the calculus will change and lockdowns will cost a lot.

‘Where you have that higher level of protection, there is more discretion. That is why that phase is called less likely, but possible.’

Also in NSW, a 34-year-old woman died of a rare clotting syndrome caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration reported Thursday.

Also in NSW, a 34-year-old woman died of a rare clotting syndrome caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration reported Thursday.

Greater Sydney is subject to home orders until at least August 28 (photo, residents outside a vaccination center in the CBD on Thursday)

Greater Sydney is subject to home orders until at least August 28 (photo, residents outside a vaccination center in the CBD on Thursday)

Meanwhile, developers warn they will have to put people out of work if restrictions remain in NSW after August

Meanwhile, developers warn they will have to put people out of work if restrictions remain in NSW after August

Meanwhile, developers are warning that they will have to put people out of work if restrictions continue in NSW last August.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia has surveyed its members, with a quarter saying they will have to make major cuts to their workforce if restrictions last longer.

A third of housing sites in NSW are still closed, the institute says.

Developers operate at half capacity on average for locations that are open, with many employees being kept off the location by additional restrictions that apply to eight local government focus areas.

UDIA chief executive Steve Mann wants the government to allow workers – who have had two shots – to leave their LGAs to work by the end of August.

Greater Sydney is subject to home orders until at least August 28.

The closures of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Singleton, Dungog, Muswellbrook and Cessnock will be lifted on August 13.

More to come

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