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Covid-19 Australia: NSW records 291 new Covid-19 cases

New South Wales has recorded 291 new Covid-19 cases amid warnings the record number of infections is likely to rise over the coming days. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned that case numbers were likely to skyrocket after noting that 50 people were out in the community while infectious.

‘We are likely to see this trend continue for the next few days,’ she said during a press conference on Friday.

‘Everybody must prepare themselves for higher case numbers in the next few days just based on the trend in the last few days and where things are going.

‘I am expecting higher case numbers in the few days and they just wanted want to be prepared for that.’ 

The new cases smash the previous record of 262 infections that were reported on Thursday. There were 110,000 conducted in the past 24 hours. 

The new cases come as the Newcastle and Hunter regions join Greater Sydney in lockdown and begin the first of their seven-day stay-at-home orders.  

The snap lockdown was called after five new cases turned up in Newcastle and eight more were found in the Central Coast region on Thursday.

The new cases come after the Newcastle and Hunter regions joined Greater Sydney in lockdown and began the first of their seven-day long stay-at-home orders on Friday

The new cases come as the Newcastle and Hunter regions join Greater Sydney in lockdown and begin the first of their seven-day stay-at-home orders

The new cases come as the Newcastle and Hunter regions join Greater Sydney in lockdown and begin the first of their seven-day stay-at-home orders

News of the impending lockdown sparked mass panic buying across the region with supermarket shelves stripped bare of essential items (pictured in Rutherford, Maitland)

News of the impending lockdown sparked mass panic buying across the region with supermarket shelves stripped bare of essential items (pictured in Rutherford, Maitland)

The local government areas that have been affected are Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook.  

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said the outbreak in the Hunter region was almost certainly linked to a party held at Blacksmiths Beach south of Newcastle last Friday night.

She said authorities believe some of those at the party may have broken laws to travel there from Sydney despite the city’s residents being banned from entering regional NSW for non-essential reasons. 

News of the impending lockdown sparked mass panic buying across the region with supermarket shelves stripped bare of essential items. 

The state saw 262 new local cases reported on Wednesday, of which at least 72 were in the community while infectious.

Five people died in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday – three men in their 60s, a man in his 70s and a woman in her 80s. None were fully vaccinated.

It was the deadliest day of the pandemic, and recorded the highest daily number of cases.

Also in NSW, a 34-year-old woman died of a rare clotting syndrome caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration reported on Thursday.

Six people have now died from the condition, out of about 6.8 million vaccine doses.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says vaccination is the way out of the crisis which has shut down Greater Sydney for almost six weeks.

She said restrictions will remain in some form until 80 per cent of people are vaccinated, and wants 50 per cent jabbed by the end of the month. 

While Ms Berejiklian has emphasised vaccines as a solution to ending restrictions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the most important measure is the lockdown. 

At least week’s national cabinet meeting all premiers and chief ministers agreed that lockdowns would become much ‘less likely’ when 70 per cent of Aussies are vaccinated and would be almost obsolete once 80 per cent are jabbed.    

Under Mr Morrison’s four-step re-opening plan, a state or territory can move to phase B when the national vaccination rate hits 70 per cent and the rate in that state also hits 70 per cent. 

Mr Morrison said he hopes this phase will be achieved before the end of the year but warned the timing ‘is entirely up to how the nation responds to this challenge we’re setting for ourselves.’

While Ms Berejiklian has emphasised vaccines as a solution to ending restrictions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the most important measure is the lockdown

While Ms Berejiklian has emphasised vaccines as a solution to ending restrictions, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the most important measure is the lockdown

At a Coles in Mayfield, a set of shelves holding raw chicken meat had also been stripped bare with just a few items remaining

At a Coles in Mayfield, a set of shelves holding raw chicken meat had also been stripped bare with just a few items remaining

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says vaccination is the way out of the crisis which has shut down Greater Sydney for almost six weeks

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says vaccination is the way out of the crisis which has shut down Greater Sydney for almost six weeks 

This phase will make lockdowns ‘less likely’ and will give doubled-vaccinated people ‘special rules’ to allow them more freedom than Aussies who refuse a jab.

‘If you get vaccinated, there will be special rules that apply to you. Why? Because if you’re vaccinated, you present less of a public health risk,’ Mr Morrison said.  

A ‘small working group’ involving the Northern Territory, Victoria and Tasmania has been set up to determine which restrictions will not apply to the double-vaccinated. 

The Prime Minister warned that some localised lockdowns may be required in phase B but ‘broad-based metropolitan-wide lockdowns’ shutdowns will not be needed. 

‘Lockdowns in phase B are less likely, but they are possible… they may be necessary but they are not something that you would normally expect,’ he said. 

‘Once we get into phase B, then the calculus does change and lockdowns do cost a lot. 

‘Where you have that higher level of protection then there is more discretion exercised. That’s why that phase is referred to as less likely, but possible.’ 

Also in NSW, a 34-year-old woman died of a rare clotting syndrome caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration reported on Thursday

Also in NSW, a 34-year-old woman died of a rare clotting syndrome caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Therapeutic Goods Administration reported on Thursday

Greater Sydney will be subject to stay-at-home orders until at least August 28 (pictured, residents outside a vaccination centre in the CBD on Thursday)

Greater Sydney will be subject to stay-at-home orders until at least August 28 (pictured, residents outside a vaccination centre in the CBD on Thursday)

Meanwhile, developers are warning they'll need to put people out of work if restrictions remain in place in NSW past August

Meanwhile, developers are warning they’ll need to put people out of work if restrictions remain in place in NSW past August

Meanwhile, developers are warning they’ll need to put people out of work if restrictions remain in place in NSW past August.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia surveyed its members, with a quarter saying they’ll need to make large cuts to their workforces if restrictions go on any longer.

One third of housing construction sites in NSW are still closed, the institute says.

Developers are operating at half capacity on average for sites that are open, with many workers kept off-site by extra restrictions that apply to eight local government areas of concern.

UDIA chief executive officer Steve Mann wants the government to allow workers – who have had two jabs – to leave their LGAs to work at the end of August.

Greater Sydney will be subject to stay-at-home orders until at least August 28.

The lockdown of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Singleton, Dungog, Muswellbrook and Cessnock is set to lift on August 13.

More to come 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk