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NSW Records 642 New Local COVID-19 Cases

NSW has reported 642 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and four deaths as curfews are imposed in western Sydney's council areas of concern and the city's lockdown is extended to September 30.

All of NSW is currently locked down and facing enhanced police compliance measures as authorities battle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain. There were 644 new local cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, but two were acquired in the ACT and are isolating in southern NSW. Of those cases, the isolation status of more than 500 remain under investigation.

A permit system will from Saturday also come into force for people travelling between Greater Sydney and regional NSW. Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant have repeatedly and vociferously denied the efficacy of curfews as a public health measure amid the outbreak.

Curfews from 9pm to 5am will nevertheless be imposed in western Sydney's 12 local government areas of concern from Monday. People in these areas will also be limited to one hour of exercise, and NSW Police will be given the power to lock down entire apartment blocks due to COVID-19 cases. Masks will also be mandated at all times - indoors and outdoors - across NSW from Monday.

"This is also for police, it makes it easy for them to make sure that everybody is sticking to the rules so this (means) mask-wearing outdoors unless you're exercising," Ms Berejiklian said.

COVID-19 vaccinations for NSW healthcare workers will also be mandated by the end of next month. All healthcare workers must have at least one jab by September 30.

Greens health spokesperson Cate Faehrmann in a statement welcomed the change but said it should've been made sooner. Some 80 healthcare workers at Sydney's St George Hospital are this week isolating due to COVID exposure in the oncology ward.

The government is currently looking at ways to give vaccinated people more freedom in September when the state has reached six million jabs, but is yet to outline this plan.

AAP with The Project