New South Wales has recorded 239 community cases of Covid-19, with at least 26 of those cases infectious while in the community.
Of the new cases, 115 are linked to a known case or cluster and the source of infection for 124 cases is under investigation.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the virus was still circulating in workplaces and households.
She said the government wanted to end the Greater Sydney lockdown as soon as possible and emphasised that returning to a sense of normality would require residents to get vaccinated.
“We know that vaccination is working against this terrible Delta strain, we know it is effective,” Berejiklian said.
“We don’t want to be in a situation where we are going in and out of lockdown and certainly in NSW our aim is to get out of this one as quickly as we can. We have the month of August to get our vaccination rates as high as possible.”
NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said that people aged between 18 and 30 may be worsening the state’s outbreak.
“This is the age group that tends to be a link between kids, younger people, and older, elderly relatives,” he said.
“They are working, they have big social networks. If you are in that age group, it is important that you be aware that you are very vulnerable to the infection, as we have seen in ICU numbers.”
There are currently 222 Covid -19 cases admitted to hospital, with 54 people in intensive care, 25 of whom require ventilation.
Berejiklian said on Friday the government was still concerned about the number of people who continue to move throughout the community while infectious.
She said the state could not afford any more setbacks or exceptions if Greater Sydney was to come out of lockdown as planned in four weeks.
“One setback has a ripple effect which can take weeks to get out of,” she said.
In response to planned anti-lockdown protests on Saturday that threatened further community transmission, more than 1300 police officers descended on the CBD and established a command centre in Hyde Park.
The partial shutdown of the city successfully quashed what Berejiklian deemed a potential “death sentence” to protesters’ family members, with few demonstrators showing up.
There have been 3,427 community cases reported since June 16, when the first case in the Sydney outbreak was reported.
Minister defends delayed lockdown
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said the government did not delay in implementing a strong lockdown when the Delta outbreak first began in the state.
Questioned on the ABC about how long it took for the government to implement widespread restrictions after receiving the health advice to do so, he said “There was no delay. On each and every occasion, we respond to our public health team.”
Hazzard said the government needed to balance various concerns.
“What people don’t understand is that the public health team, and then there’s the health team who also look at mental health issues, and then there’s the economic team who also look at trying to keep the state’s economy going.”
By the time the first lockdown was announced in late June the Sydney outbreak had grown to 65 cases.
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