Australia COVID LIVE updates: NSW cases continue to soar as Queensland, Victoria infections grow

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Construction workers from Sydney COVID hotspots can return to work if vaccinated

Construction workers will be able to return to unoccupied work sites across NSW from Wednesday on the condition the sites remain at half capacity and workers from COVID-19 hotspots are vaccinated.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro has announced construction workers from Sydney’s eight worst-hit local government areas will be able to pick up the tools from Wednesday, for the first time since a snap ban took effect on July 17.

Construction workers from Sydney’s worst hit local government areas will be allowed to return to work if vaccinated.Credit:Kate Geraghty

However a strict vaccination and testing regime will be in place for the workers from the affected local government areas: Blacktown, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool and Parramatta.

“We want workers back on the tools, but we need to continue to keep this virus at bay, and so by opening unoccupied work sites at 50 per cent capacity and vaccinating workers from within those affected LGAs, we can achieve both,” Mr Barilaro said on Saturday.

It comes as The Sun-Herald can reveal close to $8 billion worth of major infrastructure projects – including the new airport and Southwest Metro – have been on ice within Sydney’s coronavirus red zones.

Read more here.

Victorian lockdown likely to be extended as cluster sources remain unknown

Victorian government sources and epidemiologists say the state’s lockdown will almost certainly last for more than seven days because it could take weeks for all people to be in isolation for their infectious period.

Premier Daniel Andrews said Saturday’s 29 recorded cases, the highest daily total since September, made for a “concerning day”. Two senior Victorian government sources, speaking anonymously to make predictions about the outbreak, said it could take weeks for a ring to be put around the clusters.

Premier Daniel Andrews and COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar on Saturday.Credit:Scott McNaughton

However, the Premier insisted it was achievable to drive local cases to zero despite the new outbreak penetrating western suburbs communities with greater language barriers, bigger family groups and an increased proportion of essential workers who can’t work from home.

Prominent epidemiologists Nancy Baxter and Catherine Bennett predicted an extended lockdown, with both concerned the new clusters, one centred in Hobsons Bay and the other linked to the city of Maribyrnong, either emerged from chains of transmission that have been running for weeks in Victoria or new NSW incursions.

Read the full story here.

NSW Health adds more venues of concern

NSW Health sent out further venues of concern last night including a chemist, a university housing complex and a service station.

If you attended the following venues during the times listed, you are a close contact and must get tested and isolate for 14 days since you were there, regardless of the result.

Callaghan: International House (any block), Callaghan Campus, University of Newcastle, University Drive, July 28, 29, 30, 31 and August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7.

Penrith: Terry White Pharmacy Penrith, 447 High Street, August 3 from 7.50am to 6pm and August 4 from 7.50am to 6pm.

St Marys: St Marys Medical Centre, 53 Phillip Street, August 4 from 9.15am to 10am.

Penrith: JANS Family Health Practice, 447 High Street, August 3 from 7.50am to 6pm and August 4 from 7.50 to 6pm.

Marylands: Ampol Service Station, 41 Minmi Road, August 6 from 4.30am to 10am.

Charlestown: Nextra Newsagency, Charlestown Square, Pearson Street, July 29 from 3.15pm to 3.22pm and 4.18pm and 4.24pm.

Kotara: Barber Industries, Westfield Kotara, 75-89 Park Avenue, August 5 from 1.30pm to 2pm.

In addition, NSW Health has been notified of a number of new casual contact venues of concern associated with confirmed cases of COVID 19. To view these new venues, please visit the NSW Government website.

Anyone who visited one of these venues at the times listed is a casual contact and must immediately get tested and isolate until a negative result is received.

Good morning

Good morning and welcome to our coronavirus blog. I am Laura Chung.

Here are the key pieces of news that happened yesterday:

  • NSW reported 319 new local cases on Saturday – another record for the state. Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced up to 4000 authorised supermarket and food distribution workers can roll up their sleeves for a vaccine on Sunday at Sydney Olympic Park. Later, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said construction workers will be able to return to unoccupied worksites across NSW from Wednesday on the condition they remain at half capacity and workers from COVID hotspots are vaccinated. Another five people died from COVID-19 in the state, including 80-year-old Bossley grandfather Kat Ditthavong.

Kat Ditthavong died at Liverpool Hospital on Saturday morning after catching COVID-19 in his ward.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

  • Victoria recorded 29 new cases of coronavirus, and it looks likely the state’s sixth lockdown will last more than seven days. Andrews government sources and epidemiologists say it could take weeks for all infected people to be isolated. Health authorities identified at least 67 new exposure sites across the state – many of them tier 1.

  • In the NSW regions, Armidale was plunged into lockdown at 5pm. It appears the virus may have hitched a ride there on a train, with authorities issuing a close contact alert for people who caught an XPT service from Newcastle to Armidale on Thursday, July 29. Four new cases of COVID were confirmed in young people in Newcastle, taking the total number of cases in the Hunter-New England area to 13 since Thursday.

  • Queensland recorded 13 new cases. The state’s Delta outbreak is being supercharged by children, with at least 10 Brisbane schools or their facilities appearing as COVID-19 exposure sites.
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