NSW says outbreak is 'national emergency'

NSW has reported 136 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.
NSW has reported 136 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.

NSW has reported one death and 136 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19, an outbreak high, almost four weeks after Greater Sydney and its surrounds were locked down in a bid to suppress the virus.

"This is a national emergency," the state's Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said on Friday.

Of the new cases recorded to 8pm on Thursday, at least 70 were not in isolation for all or part of their infectious period.

The isolation status of another 13 persons is under investigation.

The death of an 89-year-old man takes the NSW tally to 62 and the national death toll to 916.

"There is no doubt that the numbers are not going in the direction we were hoping they would at this stage," Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

"It is fairly apparent that we will not be close to zero by next Friday."

At a national cabinet meeting on Friday, the premier will push for the national vaccination strategy to refocus on Sydney - particularly hotspots in the city's west and southwest.

"Fortunately, one thing that has become apparent during the last few weeks is that barely anybody with two doses of the vaccine is having acquired a serious illness," Ms Berejiklian said.

"Both vaccines, are working. We need to get more of them into arms, even if it is a first jab."

Stricter, local lockdown orders will also be expanded to those living or working in the Cumberland and Blacktown local government areas, in line with orders already imposed on residents in the Liverpool and Fairfield areas.

No one can leave those areas unless they are a critical worker, which includes health and aged care workers.

Since lockdown was introduced on June 25 for four Sydney local government areas, and then expanded to the entire region the next day, infections have spread to Orange in the central west and interstate to Victoria.

Three local government areas - Orange, Blayney and Cabonne - in regionals NSW are in lockdown until at least July 28.

The Greater Sydney lockdown was due to end on July 30.

NSW health authorities are also concerned the virus has spread to northern NSW after fragments were detected at a sewage treatment plant serving Byron Bay, Wategos, Suffolk Park, Sunrise and Broken Head.

There are no confirmed cases in the area, so far.

Australian Associated Press