The New Zealand Herald

NSW records 124 cases on worst day of outbreak so far

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New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia remain in lockdown as the country grapples with multiple Covid19 outbreaks.

NSW recorded 124 new community cases of Covid-19 yesterday, the highest daily number of new infections since the Delta variant outbreak began on June 16. At least 48 of those cases were infectious while in the community and the source of infection for 57 of the new cases is under investigat­ion.

Victoria’s outbreak grew by 26 new community cases yesterday, with all of those cases linked to existing clusters. All but two cases were in quarantine throughout their infectious periods.

South Australia also recorded two new cases, both linked to a suspected “super-spreading event”.

Queensland recorded no new community cases yesterday for the second day in a row.

There are growing fears over the Sydney outbreak in particular, with NSW authoritie­s taking a week or more to identify high-risk exposure sites across the city and daily new cases remaining high.

The rapid rate of spread and the highly infectious nature of the Delta strain means contact tracers are scrambling to find and test any close contacts as quickly as possible.

Berejiklia­n had a stark message for residents as vaccine rates remain low, saying NSW “won’t be able to live freely unless we quash this outbreak“.

“What we need to do now is quash it, because with the vaccine rates the way they are, we won’t be able to live freely and safely unless we’re able to quash this outbreak.”

A leading epidemiolo­gist has warned Greater Sydney to brace for a much longer lockdown than expected, with current restrictio­ns needing more time to work.

“I would have thought that even if the numbers start to drop off next week or peak next week, we’re looking at another two weeks,” Professor Sanjaya Senanayake from the Australian National University said yesterday.

“To see the impact of the weekend restrictio­ns that were brought in, we might have to wait till the very end of this week or the start of next week.”

Regardless, he doubts the lockdown will end on July 30.

The Sydney outbreak sparked a Covid-19 cluster in Victoria after Sydney-based furniture movers worked at an apartment complex in Melbourne while unknowingl­y infectious, and the outbreak in Victoria then spread to Queensland after a woman tested positive for the virus on Tuesday after travelling home from Melbourne.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has taken aim at the NSW government for its failure to contain the virus, saying on Monday “as soon as they get it under control, it takes a lot of pressure off us and Adelaide and Brisbane and the whole country,” adding that the outbreak “has to be pulled up in Sydney”.

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