Four of the five people who died were not vaccinated while one received a dose, NSW state health officials said, as they urged residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible .
Authorities also announced a weeklong lockdown from Thursday in the area surrounding the state’s second largest city, Newcastle, 140 kilometers (87 miles) north of Sydney, after six cases were there. reported.
Authorities suspect the outbreak started with a beach party near Newcastle after people traveled from Sydney, an apparent violation of the city’s lockdown.
“Our most important goal… is to get to the bottom of how the disease has been transmitted and introduced in Newcastle,” Kerry Chant, New South Wales chief public health officer, told reporters, as the Most cases were still detected in Sydney, the state capital and Australia. largest city.
There were 259 new cases of Covid-19 in Sydney, out of 262 across New South Wales, health officials said, daily records for the city and state, which reported a previous high of 239 Sunday.
There have been more than 4,300 cases in NSW in the latest wave that began seven weeks ago after the first case of the Delta variant was detected in an unvaccinated, unmasked limousine driver which carried crew members of an airline abroad.
Lockdown in Victoria
In the state of Queensland, whose capital Brisbane is on lockdown, 16 other cases of Covid-19 were reported on Thursday, the same as the previous two days.
Victoria state, meanwhile, will enter a weeklong lockdown starting at 8 p.m. local time on Thursday. State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews announced the instant lockdown at 4:15 p.m. local time on Thursday after six cases were detected in the state on Wednesday.
“If we were to wait even a few days, chances are that instead of being locked up for a week, it gets away from us and we are potentially locked up until we are all vaccinated. C It’s months away, ”Andrews said. in the state capital, Melbourne.
Residents of Victoria are to stay at home unless they are doing essential work, buying food, exercising, receiving or providing health care, or getting vaccinated against Covid-19.
With the new restrictions in place, some 13 million people in Australia’s three largest cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, will be locked up from Thursday evening.
In New South Wales, health authorities are urging residents, especially those over 60, to get vaccinated.
The five deaths in Sydney included three men in their 60s, a man in their 60s and a woman in their 80s, bringing the total death toll to 21 in the latest outbreak in New South Wales.
“Please, now is the time to seriously consider getting the vaccine… I appealed to you – make an appointment. Get the vaccine,” said Kerry Chant, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
With around 35,200 Covid-19 cases and 932 deaths, Australia has avoided the high number of cases in other developed countries, but its vaccination figures are among the lowest, with only 20% of its population over 16 years old fully vaccinated.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian linked the vaccination rate to the easing of lockdown restrictions on August 28, setting a target of 6 million shots by the end of the month that would cover the half of the state’s adult population. Approximately 4 million doses have been administered to date in New South Wales.
But the growing list of new places people with Covid-19 have traveled to while infectious dampens any optimism. About a fifth of the cases reported in New South Wales on Thursday were active in the community, following the trend of the past few days.
Victoria also provided an example of how active community cases are likely to cause more cases.
The state, which ended a lockdown just a few weeks ago, announced that the eight new cases are mostly linked to at least 3,000 close contacts. Authorities have warned that will increase dramatically, raising the prospect of more curbs.
“Given our understanding of the school community as well as the other exhibition sites that are going online, we would go from 5,000 to 10,000 primary and secondary close contacts pretty quickly in a matter of hours, if not days,” said Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley in Melbourne.