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Hermit state where only one in five people are allowed to leave homes


More than 80 per cent of the NSW population is in lockdown as the state struggles to curb the spread of the Delta COVID-19 strain beyond Greater Sydney and into the regions.

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About 6,571,800 residents have been placed into lockdown.

Byron Bay and surrounding local government areas in northern NSW entered a snap seven-day lockdown from 6pm on Monday after a man from Sydney travelled there about a week ago and subsequently tested positive.

Byron Shire mayor Michael Lyon said locals feared an outbreak and there was no record of venues the man had visited.

“What we do know is he hadn’t been checking in anywhere, hasn’t used QR codes, hasn’t been self-isolating when he got sick, he didn’t get tested until he was really sick,” he told ABC radio on Tuesday.

The lockdown came as the regional city of Tamworth also joined the Hunter region and Armidale in a seven-day lockdown after an infected young woman visited the area from Newcastle.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant will be quizzed at a parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday about their handling of the latest COVID-19 outbreak.

And NSW landlords can apply for benefits if they are providing rent relief for their tenants.

Residential landlords can choose between applying for land tax relief or a payment of up to $1500 per tenancy if they reduce the rent for COVID-impacted tenants from July 14 until December 31.

Sydney’s Bondi Beach Public School and Shortland Public School in Newcastle are closed for cleaning on Tuesday after cases there and another apartment block in Sydney’s west has been put into lockdown.

Residents in the 58 units in the Astina apartments in Penrith are all considered close contacts after the building was listed by NSW Health as an exposure site for three days last week with residents and visitors needing to get tested and isolate for 14 days, the ABC reports.

In the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday NSW recorded 283 local cases, 106 of which were in the community while infectious.

An unvaccinated northern Sydney woman in her 90s has also died, taking the death toll from the current outbreak to at least 29.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has set a goal of six million vaccinations by the end of August in order to consider easing lockdown settings. About 4.5 million jabs have been administered so far.

Despite saying last week that “COVID zero” remains the goal in NSW, the premier on Monday admitted lockdown restrictions could ease from August 29 depending on infections in the community and hitting the six million jab target.

However, pre-pandemic freedoms could not be countenanced until vaccination rates of 70 and 80 per cent are reached.

Berejiklian acknowledged this meant residents of Sydney and surrounds could be banned from interstate travel for the long term, given the tendency of other states to close borders.

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