Delta outbreak in NSW spreads as 170 new cases announced

The Delta outbreak continues to spread in New South Wales with 170 new COVID-19 infections announced today.

Of the new cases, at least 42 were infectious while in the community.

There have been 239 new coronavirus infections in NSW as Greater Sydney remains under lockdown. (Edwina Pickles)

Cars queue for testing

Long lines of cars are waiting at a testing clinic in Sydney’s south-west as residents heed the call to come forward if they have any symptoms of COVID-19.

The Roselands clinic has seen large numbers turn out from early this morning, with three queues of cars waiting for their turn.

The 24-hour clinic has seen a steady stream of people coming forward for a swap through the night, as cases rise across the region.

Cars waiting in line at a COVID-19 testing clinic in Roselands in Sydney’s south-west on Friday July 30, 2021. (Nine News)

From today, all adults will be able to get vaccinated against coronavirus with AstraZeneca from one of the NSW Health clinics, in response to the state’s skyrocketing COVID-19 cases – which are likely to be high again today.

NSW Police Minister David Elliot told Today authorities were “not expecting it to drop by any significant number”.

The government has opened-up walk ins and bookings to meet the growing demand for vaccines as Greater Sydney battles the highly contagious Delta variant.

The high risk local government areas in Sydney have been extended.
The high risk local government areas in Sydney have been extended. (Nine/Tara Blancato)

Australian Defence Force personnel will be out in force across all eight hotspot LGAs enforcing stay at home orders and making sure close contacts of positive cases are adhering to mandatory isolation.

Police are also warning people across Greater Sydney they will be more visible from today, increasing fines for those in breach of the rules.

The rising number of cases has prompted advisory group ATAGI to recommend all adults in Greater Sydney “strongly consider” taking the AstraZeneca vaccine in response to ongoing community transmission and limited Pfizer supplies.

Kildare Medical Centre COVID-19 vaccination queue, Blacktown during Sydney’s lockdown on July 28. (Louise Kennerley/SMH)

On Wednesday selected pharmacies across Sydney began offering AstraZeneca for walk-ins for those aged 18 and over.

The mass vaccination hubs include clinics at Sydney Olympic Park, Macquarie Fields and Sydney’s CBD.

Patients wait to get jabs at the NSW Vaccination Centre, at Sydney Olympic Park, earlier this month. (Sam Mooy)

The NSW Government is encouraging people to go online to book via its eligibility checker tool, but most locations say appointments are within the next 30 days or that none are currently available.

Meanwhile, new mask rules are now in place across all of the eight risk-risk LGAs which include Parramatta, Georges River, Campbelltown Fairfield, Liverpool, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland and Blacktown.

Masks must be worn outdoors at all times, even when exercising.

Up to 300 personnel are being deployed from today following the request from NSW Police for help in enforcing COVID-19 compliance of the Greater Sydney lockdown.

Defence members will be sent in and train over the weekend before beginning work under the direction of NSW Police on Monday.

Mr Elliot told Today the “operation will go for as long as we need it to go for”.

“If we need them for two weeks, that’s great,” he said.

“If we need them for two months that capability is there.

“An extra 300 will be supporting police on operations now. This is an important message to the community – that all levels of government are taking this seriously. But also allows more productivity from the police.”

There are currently 1385 ADF personnel working as part of Operation COVID-19 Assist across the country and more than 13,000 members have been deployed throughout the pandemic.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said authorities had been flooded by thousands of community complaints against those disobeying public health orders.

Australian Defence Force staff and Victorian police are seen on patrol as a lockdown of Melbourne on August 5, 2020. (AP)

Also today, National Cabinet is set to focus on a path out of lockdowns with vaccinations expected to be the key to freedom.

State and territory leaders will be looking at health modelling from the Doherty Institute and economic data from treasury, expected to warn of the cost of lockdowns and restrictions and to consider whether snap shutdowns are necessary under the Delta strain.

Separate modelling from the Gratton Institute suggests Australia could end lockdowns when 80 per cent of the population has had the vaccine, by the end of the year.

It’s being reported lockdowns are being factored in well into 2022 as Health Minister Greg Hunt warns the world will be living with the coronavirus pandemic for decades.

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