Coronavirus: New South Wales records 163 community cases of COVID-19

Coronavirus: New South Wales records 163 community cases of COVID-19
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New South Wales recorded 163 new community cases of COVID-19 and one death in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, officials say.

The latest figures come after 136 new cases were confirmed in the state on Friday - then the highest number yet in the current outbreak. Following those figures, State premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a "national emergency".

Forty-five of the cases announced on Saturday were infectious while in the community.

"What it is telling us is we have a continuing and growing problem, particularly in southwest and western Sydney," NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

"What we see is transmission particularly as a result of family members getting together when they just should not be getting together. We also are seeing transmission in shops and in other workplaces."

Twenty-six cases were in isolation for part of their infectious period, while 73 cases were in isolation while infectious.

There was one overseas-acquired case.

Of the locally acquired cases, 87 are linked to a known case or cluster, officials said. Sixty-two people are household contacts and 25 are close contacts.

The source of 76 cases in under investigation.

Speaking to media, Hazzard urged people in the state not to "intermingle with family members from other households".

"We really need our community, particularly in southwestern... Sydney, to stay at home, to hear the message and stay at home," he said.

"And don't intermingle with family members from other households. It will continue to cause massive grief here in Sydney, particularly in western and south-western Sydney, if family members mix with family members from other households."

Officials said a man in his 80s from south-west Sydney died on Friday from the virus. So far a total of 62 people have passed away from COVID-19 in New South Wales, including six during the current outbreak.

There are currently 139 people with COVID in hospital, with 37 people in intensive care.

New South Wales has urged the federal government to divert vaccine doses to Sydney to help stem the spread of the virus, a move that has raised objections from other states, as the situation worsens.

Australia's outbreak led to the New Zealand Government on Friday announcing a pause on the entire trans-Tasman bubble.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the pause will be reviewed after the preliminary eight-week period, with the assessment taking into account whether the severe outbreak in New South Wales has been contained.

Any change to the pause will be made ensuring that New Zealand's elimination strategy is "not at risk", she said.