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NSW records 19 new local coronavirus cases, including two still under investigation

New South Wales has reported 19 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases, with the source of two infections still under investigation. 

Health authorities said nine of the new cases detected in the 24 hours to 8pm Monday were infectious while in the community amid ongoing concerns over the highly contagious Delta variant. Seven of the cases were in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period.

The new cases were detected from 67,000 tests, and take the total number of infections recorded in the state since the start of the most recent outbreak on 16 June to 149.

“While these numbers are stable … they do have the capacity to bounce around,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Tuesday.

She said it was likely household contacts of the new cases would continue to test positive and urged all residents to remain vigilant. 

Seventeen of the new cases have been linked to previously reported cases, Ms Berejiklian said, including three new ones linked to the Great Ocean Foods seafood wholesaler in Marrickville – taking the total number of infections linked to the venue to 19 – and a further three cases connected to the West Hoxton birthday party.

Thirty-four infections have so far been connected to the party, including 27 people who were present at the event and their contacts. 

A Rose Bay Secondary School student has also tested positive, prompting the school to close for cleaning and an isolation order for all students and staff. 

“At the moment we are still seeing some cases that were potentially infectious in the community,” Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said. 

“But what we’re hoping is because of the lockdown, the number of interactions those cases have had, where there is the potential for transmitting the virus, would have decreased significantly.”

14-day lockdown of Greater Sydney, including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour, came into force on Saturday evening, a day after residents of four Sydney local government areas were issued stay-at-home orders.

Health authorities updated the list of exposure sites overnight to include a number of locations in the eastern suburbs and central business district.

Anyone who has visited the locations at the times listed on the NSW Health website are being urged to monitor for symptoms, isolate, and undergo urgent testing. 

Business support

Meanwhile, the state government has announced new financial support for small businesses hit by the Greater Sydney lockdown.

Businesses are set to receive thousands of dollars in grants and the NSW Dine and Discover voucher program for state residents will be expanded as part of the package.

“We know that our lockdown … has created much stress,” Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

“We don’t want anyone to feel stressed during this lockdown that they won’t be able to manage their household situation or their business situation.”

Grants of between $5,000 and $10,000 will be available to small businesses, depending on declines in turnover, during the health restrictions.

NSW residents will now have until 31 August to spend their Dine and Discover vouchers, which will also be able to be used on takeaway food orders.

More to come.

With AAP.

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