August 16, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

The NSW State Government put all of regional NSW into a lockdown early on Saturday evening for at least a week as outbreaks across the state continued to worsen.

A total of 881 cases were reported in NSW over the weekend, with the daily case load jumping over 400 for the first time. Regionally, there are outbreaks in Western NSW and Newcastle.

Lockdown rules in Greater Sydney were also tightened over the weekend, with permits now required for people to leave Sydney and head into the regions – and reasons for these to be granted limited – all of Greater Sydney now limited to 5km for shopping and exercise – with the same restriction applying to the new state-wide lockdown – significantly larger fines have been put in place for various breaches of the health orders and in the 12 LGAs of concern, singles’ bubble partners now have to be officially registered and outdoor “recreation” has been banned. A new $320 payment for essential workers required to isolate after a COVID-19 test in the 12 LGAs of concern in Sydney has also been introduced.

From today – seven weeks into Sydney’s lockdown – NSW Police, with the assistance from the Australian Defence Force, are launching Operation Stay-at-home to increase compliance with Sydney’s tighter lockdown.

In some good news for progress against COVID-19, Australia has secured one million additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine from Poland, with the first batch arriving in Sydney overnight. More than half of the doses will go to vaccinating young people in the areas of Greater Sydney where the COVID outbreak is at its worst.

On Saturday, NSW passed its half way point to having 80 percent of its population fully vaccinated, reaching 5,009,457 COVID-19 jabs. Nationally, over 15.17 million vaccine doses had been administered as of Saturday, with the pace of vaccination standing at more than 1.5 million doses per week, according to the ABC vaccine tracker, which estimates full vaccination of Australian adults will be achieved by early December.