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'Stay at home': Govt plea as NSW cases rise even higher

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NSW has reported another 163 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 a day after that state’s Premier and chief health officer branded the steadily rising numbers after a month-long lockdown a “national emergency”.

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A man in his 80s from southwest Sydney has also died after contracting the virus.

Greater Sydney and surrounding regions are in lockdown until at least July 30, while three local government areas in regional NSW are in lockdown until at least at least July 28, as health authorities battle to contain a outbreak of the virulent Delta strain.

“Very worryingly, very worryingly, 45 (new cases) were infectious out in the community,” Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters.

“In other words, 45 people were out walking around and potentially spreading the virus which certainly explains why our numbers are going up.”

Hazzard said cases rises were mainly in the southwest Sydney areas of Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Liverpool.

Additional restrictions would be placed on Cumberland and Blacktown on Friday night to prevent anyone but authorised workers from leaving those local government areas.

“We really need our community, particularly in southwestern and western Sydney, to stay at home, to hear the message and stay at home,” Hazzard said.

“And don’t intermingle with family members from other households. It will continue to cause massive grief here in Sydney, particularly in western and southwestern Sydney, if family members mix with family members from other households.

“Just, please, stop doing it. Stop.”

NSW Health issued alerts for another 46 potential exposure sites across Greater Sydney and a number in the Southern Highlands towns of Tahmoor and Mittagong on Friday night.

Sewage testing in Moss Vale has also returned positive results for COVID-19 leading authorities to urge people to isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms.

“There are no known cases in this area, which is of great concern,” NSW Health said in a statement on Friday night.

“Everyone in the Moss Vale area is asked to be especially vigilant for any symptoms that could signal Covid, and if they appear, to immediately be tested and isolate until a negative test result is received. If symptoms appear again, please be tested and isolate again.”

It comes after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ call for a “ring of steel” to be established around COVID-hit Sydney was not been adopted by national cabinet.

“We will finish up with the whole country locked down if we don’t do this properly,” Andrews said yesterday.

Victoria and South Australia are both locked down after the highly infectious Delta variant leaked across the border from NSW.

A “ring of steel”, policed by roadblocks and mobile checks, was used to separate Melbourne from regional Victoria during part of the state’s 112-day lockdown in 2020.

Andrews said Victoria erected it to protect not only regional areas but the entire country, and now Sydney must do the same.

“You’ve got a national emergency in Sydney. Let’s not have that turn into a national emergency in every part of our nation,” he said.

“Sydney is on fire with this virus and we need a ring of steel put around (it).”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the proposal was raised during Friday’s national cabinet meeting, but argued stay-home rules were enough to keep the virus at bay.

“It was a good opportunity, I suppose, to dispel any concerns that this was not a very strong lockdown,” he told reporters in Canberra.

-with AAP

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