NSW has reported two more deaths, including a woman in her late 30s, and 141 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.
The other death was a woman in her 70s from southwest Sydney.
Forty three people are in intensive care in NSW, 18 of whom require ventilation. Only one of these patients had received one dose of vaccine, while the remaining 42 are unvaccinated.
At least 62 of the 141 diagnosed people in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Saturday were circulating in the community for all or part of their infectious period, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says.
Some 163 cases were diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Friday, despite the government ratcheting up restrictions in the four weeks since Greater Sydney entered lockdown.
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 28 July, as health authorities attempt to contain an outbreak of the virulent Delta strain.
Berejiklian said the woman in her 30s who died had no pre-existing conditions, demonstrating the severity of the virus.
Eight people have died amid the current Sydney outbreak.
“If anybody thinks this is a disease just affecting older people, please think again … younger people without pre-existing conditions can also fall victim to this cruel disease,” she said.
The 141 cases came from a record of more than 102,000 tests.
It comes as the NSW treasurer calls for the reintroduction of the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme amid Greater Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak and Labor demands a summit to discuss the health crisis.
But the federal government has said it believes that its current support payment structure is simpler and more flexible than Dominic Perrottet’s suggestion.
Disquiet over the lockdown erupted dramatically on Saturday afternoon, as very large crowds marched through Sydney’s CBD as part of a “World Wide Rally For Freedom.”
At least 57 people have been arrested over the protest action and 90 issued infringement notices, which Berejiklian said left her “disgusted.”
“This type of activity during lockdown will not be tolerated and the full force of the law will be brought against anyone who engages in this type of illegal activity,” she said.
A number of police officers were injured as they were attacked by some protesters, who threw plastic bottles and pot plants seized from the roadside at them.
Two men have also been charged with allegedly striking a police horse and failing to comply with public health orders, while one of the men was also charged with assaulting a police officer. They will appear in Parramatta Local Court on Sunday.
A team of more than 20 detectives is working to identify more of the protesters and either charge or fine them. NSW Police Minister David Elliott said he wants to see thousands of infringements issued.
The latest lockdown escalation has prevented all but the most essential workers in Cumberland and Blacktown local government areas leaving those areas, joining Fairfield residents.
Berejiklian has described vaccination as the way out of the outbreak. NSW has been allocated 50,000 more Pfizer doses from the federal government’s national stockpile given the outbreak.
The premier also urged unvaccinated residents in the state to consider the AstraZeneca vaccine given the new medical advice from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) on Saturday that recommended AstraZeneca among other vaccines for those 18 years and above in greater Sydney.
The risk of infection in NSW combined with the scarcity of Pfizer supplies means all adults should consider the benefits of earlier protection, ATAGI said.
Three regional NSW local government areas in the state’s central west are also under stay-at-home orders until at least July 28.
Local elections across NSW have also been postponed by three months to Dec. 4.