SYDNEY, Australia—A dozen suburbs in the western Sydney council area of Penrith have been added to the government’s “areas of concern” for COVID-19 transmission, tightening their lockdown restrictions as daily NSW infections continue to be above the government’s zero target.
NSW recorded 262 new local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Saturday, at least 72 of which in the community while infectious.
An unvaccinated woman in her 80s at the Wyoming Nursing Home in Summer Hill has died after catching the virus.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday said 12 suburbs in the Penrith local government area would join eight western and southwestern Sydney council areas as COVID-19 areas of concern.
The suburbs include Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kemps Creek, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair, and St Marys.
People in these suburbs can only leave the council area if they are authorised workers. They are also limited to shopping and exercising within 5 kilometres of home and must wear masks outside.
There are 129 active COVID-19 cases in the Penrith council area.
“They are suburbs which (have) boundaries to those eight local government areas and we want to make sure we stem the tide of the virus seeping into additional communities,” Berejiklian said.
However, the Georges River council area may soon be removed as an area of concern given its low number of new infections.
Greater Sydney and its surrounding regions are in a government-imposed lockdown until at least Aug. 28 as residents battle to contain a outbreak of the virulent Delta COVID-19 strain. The Hunter and Armidale regions are also enduring snap seven-day lockdowns.
There are 58 patients in NSW in intensive care, with 24 ventilated. Of those 58, none had been fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, hundreds of young adults in Sydney have waited hours at a walk-in clinic in Glebe to receive an AstraZeneca jab.
NSW Health brought on eight extra vaccinators throughout the day to help shorten a queue running more than 100 metres. About 1,000 people were vaccinated at the site over three days.
Almost 46 percent of NSW residents over 16 have had at least one vaccine dose, up from 40.95 percent a week ago.
Almost 23 percent of eligible residents are fully vaccinated.
Berejiklian on Sunday reiterated the government’s view that vaccination presents the primary means by which people can take action to help bring the pandemic to an end.
While the NSW government is not considering a return to pre-pandemic freedoms until vaccinations reach 70 percent coverage, Berejiklian said some restrictions may be eased with a 50 percent rate.
Her government hopes to hit six million jabs by month’s end, which would require administering an average of 65,000 jabs each day.
“It doesn’t mean we’ll return to pre-outbreak conditions—it means September can be a month where we have greater freedom,” she said.
“There are two things conditional on that—making sure that we keep case numbers as low as possible, plus we keep vaccinating.
“We know in the future, freedom relies on vaccination,” she said.