Australia

Delta is ‘like nothing we’ve seen before’: NSW records 124 new COVID-19 cases

On Wednesday night, 65 residents at an aged care facility in Kirrawee were put in isolation and visitors banned after an unvaccinated staff member tested positive to COVID-19. The Palms spokesman Mathew Hafford said all residents and about 85 per cent of staff are vaccinated. The residents swabbed so far have returned negative tests and NSW Health are immunising the remaining unvaccinated staff.

An additional two staff members at an aged care facility in Belrose have tested positive, health authorities announced this morning.

A host of new exposures sites were listed on Wednesday night, the bulk of which were in Sydney’s west and south-west.

They include a Woolworths supermarket in Belrose over a seven-day period, Star City Supermarket in Merrylands over a four-day period, a post office in Bondi, Cincotta Chemist in Auburn, and Haldon Street Medical Practice in Lakemba.

NSW is struggling to keep up with vaccination demand in the hotspot areas of south-west Sydney due to insufficient Pfizer doses and a reluctance of older residents to take AstraZeneca.

The record testing numbers come as long delays for COVID-19 test results in parts of NSW are causing some people to miss vaccination appointments and lose work as one of the private clinics processing results continues to be overwhelmed.

Long lines at Frenchs Forest on Thursday after more COVID-19 locations were identified in Belrose.
Credit:Nick Moir

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed regret for declaring the vaccine rollout was “not a race”, telling Brisbane’s 4BC radio this morning that he respected Australia’s vaccination advisory body ATAGI and had acted consistently with its recommendations, but he questioned how the increasing risk of the virus in Australia had affected their advice.

“When they say that they should consider the balance of risk when COVID cases are rising … then the balance of risk changes. I’ve just simply said, ‘the balance of risk is changing, how is that impacting on your advice?’”

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More than 50,000 residents of Orange, Cabonne and Blayney in the Central West are in the second day seven-day lockdown, after a worker at a Blayney factory tested positive to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Victoria recorded 26 new local cases, its highest daily figure this year, as the state opposition accused the government of being too slow to close the border with NSW.

Only two of the new cases were in the community while infectious. All the new cases are linked to known outbreaks.

Queensland has closed the border to South Australia parts of NSW overnight. Six COVID-19 cases were recorded in South Australia yesterday.

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