NSW has recorded a massive spike in local COVID-19 cases, with 44 new infections detected in the community in the past 24 hours.
It’s the highest daily spike in virus cases in NSW in fourteen months.
Of today’s new cases, 35 are linked to a known case or cluster, while the source of infection for 9 cases remains under investigation.
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Concerningly, 29 of those have been out and about in the community while infectious.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said as a result, she expects the number of new COVID-19 cases to be much higher in the coming days.
“It tells us that in the next few days, those numbers are going to go up,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“It tells us that both the case numbers and unfortunately the number of people who may be exposed or have been exposed in the community is going to go up.
“This is the opposite of where we need or want the numbers to trend.
“This variant is far more contagious, far more transmissible and the rate of infection, therefore, is going up exponentially every day”.
Due to the spike in cases, and failure of compliance, lockdown restrictions have been tightened for Greater Sydney, Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong.
Outdoor exercise and outdoor public gatherings have now been limited to two people, however, households are allowed to exercise together.
People will also only be allowed to exercise and travel within their Local Government Area or within a 10km travel radius from their home.
While only one person, per household, per day can leave the home for essential groceries.
In what the Premier has described as a “heartbreaking” decision, from Sunday, funerals will be capped at 10 people.
The Premier admitted that the current outbreak is the “greatest threat” the state has faced since the pandemic started.
Authorities have also confirmed that the number of close contacts in the state has also doubled overnight.
There are now 14,000 people who are considered a close contact, up from 7,000 yesterday.
More than 42,152 people in NSW came forward for testing in the past 24 hours.