Australia news LIVE: NSW COVID-19 cases continue to grow as Greater Sydney begins first day of extended lockdown; Victoria on alert after mystery case

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Key posts

  • ‘Stubborn numbers’: NSW Deputy Premier calls for patience
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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‘Stubborn numbers’: NSW Deputy Premier calls for patience

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the highly-contagious Delta coronavirus variant is making it difficult to know “what’s working and what’s not working” in his state.

“What we have seen are stubborn numbers,” Mr Barilaro told the Today show.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro at yesterday’s press conference. Credit:Nick Moir

NSW recorded 177 new cases yesterday, the biggest daily case total of the outbreak so far. The number of people infectious in the community has remained high for weeks.

Asked how the citizens of NSW can have confidence in the state government if they don’t know what’s working, the Deputy Premier urged people to have patience (as hard as that is in lockdown).

“The Delta strain is really challenging us because it’s transmissible and contagious,” he said.

“We are putting in place all the learned experience of the last 18 months, the advice from [NSW] Health and we will continue to throw more at this. Eight LGAs [local government areas] have been locked up with very minimal movement, lots of restrictions in place.

“But we are not going to pretend that we have every answer because we don’t. What we are doing is working with the public. This is going to be a joint effort where the public abide by the rules together we can get through it.”

ICU cases reach highest level as non-urgent surgeries suspended in NSW

Non-urgent elective surgery has been suspended in at least three major Sydney hospitals as COVID-19 exposures take their toll on staff numbers in the west and other facilities work to free up resources for a potential surge.

There were 56 COVID-19 cases in intensive care units across NSW yesterday, the highest number since the pandemic began. About half of these cases are ventilated.

Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital has paused non-urgent surgery.Credit:Janie Barrett

Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred, St Vincent’s and Liverpool hospitals all have a pause on non-urgent surgery, also known as category three elective surgery, such as joint replacements, eye surgery and some cosmetic procedures.

Read the full story here.

Virus experts voice concern over Victoria’s new mystery COVID case

Public health officials and epidemiologists say the discovery of a new community case of coronavirus in Victoria is concerning and even the best-case scenario of the man having caught the virus working at a testing station poses significant challenges.

The traffic controller is believed to have worked at the Moonee Valley Racecourse drive-through testing site for two days while infectious, before yesterday becoming the ninth locally acquired case of coronavirus reported in the state. The other eight cases were all linked to known clusters and were in isolation for their entire infectious period.

The case emerged as organisers of this year’s Royal Melbourne Show announced they would be cancelling the event for the second consecutive year.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company. It’s Thursday, July 29. I’m Broede Carmody.

Here’s everything you need to know before we jump into our rolling coverage.

  • Sydneysiders are facing another month in lockdown. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the news yesterday, along with a record 177 new cases linked to the state’s current outbreak. At least sixty-eight were infectious in the community and an 11th person has died. People in an additional three local government areas in Greater Sydney now can’t leave their local suburbs for shopping or work. However, a “single bubble” has been put in place for those who live alone, tradies are returning to work and year 12 students are back in the classroom.
  • Victorians are waking up to their second day out of lockdown but authorities are concerned about a new mystery case of COVID-19. There were nine new cases across the state yesterday. Eight of those are linked to existing outbreaks and were in isolation for their entire infectious period. However, an additional case is a traffic controller who is believed to have worked at the Moonee Valley Racecourse drive-through testing site in Melbourne’s north-west.
  • The federal government’s emergency payments are back to original JobKeeper levels. Scott Morrison announced yesterday that people who’ve lost 20 or more hours of work a week as a result of a coronavirus lockdown will receive $750 starting Monday. It comes after Labor, unions, small businesses and the NSW Treasurer all called for the return of JobKeeper.
  • And a Brisbane backpackers is in lockdown after a West Australian man returned from the Philippines, completed two weeks of hotel quarantine in Queensland and tested positive to coronavirus after being released into the community. Other guests have been tested and all eyes are on today’s coronavirus numbers.
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