After 466 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and four deaths were recorded, the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) implemented a state-wide lockdown starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 14.

“To minimise movement and protect our communities from the evolving COVID situation in Sydney, stay-at-home orders will be introduced for all of Regional NSW from 5 p.m. tonight,” NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro wrote on Twitter.

“Reasonable excuses to leave your home include shopping for essentials, medical care, caregiving, outdoor exercise with a member of your household or one other person, and work, if you cannot work from home. Schooling will be conducted from home.”

The overall number of active cases in the Western NSW Local Health District now stands at 42. Eleven of the cases are unrelated and are currently being investigated, with more than 200 close contacts awaiting results, ABC reported.

Just over an hour before the lockout went into force, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the lockdown on Twitter.

Berejiklian also announced on Saturday morning that lockdowns in select high-risk areas, such as Western NSW and Armidale, will be extended.

“Western NSW, Dubbo and the surrounding communities have seen 26 cases overnight and it is likely the health advice will ask us to extend the local government areas in lockdown,” Berejiklian said.

“While Armidale still has zero cases after a week, [NSW] Health is recommending that the lockdown be extended for a further seven days to make sure there are not any undetected cases.”

The lockdown of four Northern Rivers Local Government Areas (LGAs) would be extended, according to Nationals MLC Ben Franklin, who is based on the Far North Coast.

“For residents in the Lismore, Ballina, Byron and Richmond Valley LGAs, this will mean that the current lockdown will not be lifted at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday 17 Aug. as originally planned, but will now be extended to 5 p.m. on Saturday 21 Aug.,” he said in a post on social media.

NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Jeremy McAnulty stated virus pieces had been found in Ballina and Broken Hill sewage, where no COVID-19 otherwise known as CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus patients have been identified.

“Please monitor very closely the symptoms and come forward for testing at even the slightest of symptoms so we can find if there are cases in the community who are contributing to these positive sewage findings,” he stated.

One hundred and twenty-one new local cases are linked to existing outbreaks, 345 are being investigated, and 87 persons were in the community for all or part of their infectious period.

The isolation status of 303 people is also being investigated.

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