A fifth person has died amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Greater Sydney as the NSW premier admits “some level of restriction” will remain in place until the state’s vaccination rates reach an acceptable level.
The death of the southwest Sydney woman on Monday morning is the fifth in NSW since mid-June and the 61st throughout the pandemic.
See more on the latest NSW-COVID-19 death in the video player above
The woman was in her 50s, making her the youngest COVID-19 death in Australia since a Victorian man died in August 2020.
The Green Valley woman was reportedly linked to twin removalists who travelled to central-west NSW while allegedly knowing they were COVID-positive.
They, along with two other workers, travelled from West Hoxton in southwest Sydney to Molong in central-west NSW and stopped in Figtree, South Bowenfels and Orange.
Three of the removalists travelled to Molong despite discovering they were COVID-positive en route, NSW Police allege.
Police escorted the men and their vehicles back to Greater Sydney, issuing the trio with court attendance notices for failing to comply with COVID directions.
The twin men linked to the woman were forced to sit in a blue ute outside the Green Valley property on Monday while police conducted investigations inside the house.
Sydney lockdown restrictions
Monday marked the first weekday since harsh new restrictions were enforced on Greater Sydney – including an Australia-first shutdown of the construction sector for two weeks.
And while Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the current lockdown could only end when the number of cases infectious in the community nears zero, she admitted some restrictions will remain in place until vaccination rates are much higher.
This is because of the infectiousness of the Delta variant currently in the community.
About three in five NSW residents (57 per cent) aged over 50 have had their first vaccination dose, while just under one in five (18 per cent) have had both doses.
“Our population coverage – even for the over 60s – is not high enough and we have a good vaccine that can be used, where the risk of hospitalisation and death (from the virus) is very high as age increases,” Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.
Dr Chant also said Australia needed to think about making vaccines available for children, particularly those of high school age, once older age groups are immunised.
NSW COVID-19 update
NSW recorded 98 new local cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, maintaining a three-day average in the high 90s.
Up to 44 cases were active in the community while infectious, including 20 for their entire infectious period.
A further 17 were in the community for a part of their infectious period.
Three of every four cases were in Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas, but NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys denied the force was operating a “ring of steel” around southwest Sydney.
A total of 1340 people have officially contracted the virus since the first case – an unvaccinated airport limousine driver – was diagnosed on June 16.
See Gladys Berejiklian announce the 98 new COVID-19 cases in the video player below
NSW Health COVID-19 hotspots
Multiple grocery stores and pharmacies across Sydney, particularly in the city’s west, have been identified as sites visited by COVID-19 patients.
Sixteen new close and casual contact exposure sites were added by NSW Health on Monday afternoon.