NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced a four-week extension of Greater Sydney's lockdown, with 177 new community cases of Covid-19.
The announcement came at her daily coronavirus briefing today.
There were 177 new cases of locally acquired Covid-19 in New South Wales. At least 46 of the new cases were infectious while in the community. There has also been another death, a woman in her 90s who died at Liverpool Hospital yesterday.
It's the highest number of daily new infections recorded in the current Delta outbreak.
The metropolitan region and its surrounding areas - Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Blue Mountains and Central Coast - have been subjected to stay-at-home orders since 26 June.
What began as a two-week lockdown at the end of last month for the over five million people living in Greater Sydney will now stretch until at least 28 August.
Restrictions were due to be lifted on Saturday 31 July, but it became clear last week when the state's number of Covid-19 daily case numbers continued to grow that the Delta outbreak was not yet under control.
Berejiklian and her crisis cabinet have spent the past two days putting together the blueprint for what life in the country's most populous state will look like beyond Friday.
For workers the plan is likely to include rapid antigen testing - as opposed to the current nose swab, or polymerase chain reaction (PCR), tests used by Covid-19 clinics - as part of an expanded surveillance testing.
Rapid antigen testing has a significantly quicker turnaround, producing results in between 15 to 30 minutes, and it is currently employed by some parts of the private sector to screen for asymptomatic workers.
The government is also considering a "singles bubble", similar to the one used during lockdown in Melbourne last year, which will allow people living on their own to nominate a designated person to visit their home.
The premier also announced new rules which mean people can only shop for essential goods within 10km of their home.
From midnight tonight the rule which prohibits non-essential workers from leaving their local government area (LGA) has also been extended to include Parramatta, Georges River and Campbelltown.
Construction activity will continue to be banned in these three LGAs as well as the LGAs of Cumberland, Canterbury-Bankstown, Blacktown, Liverpool and Fairfield.
Construction workers who live in any of these eight LGAs will not be allowed to go to work.
Outside these areas, construction will be allowed on premises which are not occupied and tradies, including cleaners, will be able to work if they have zero contact with residents.
Year 12 students will return to face-to-face learning on August 16 under strict Covid-19 protocols.
A Pfizer vaccination programme will be launched for year 12 students in the eight LGAs of concern with doses being redirected from regional NSW.
The roadmap moving forward is also expected to include a comprehensive vaccination strategy with an aim to have every person receive their first vaccination by the end of August.
On Tuesday, Berejiklian pleaded with the state for patience, acknowledging public health orders were "difficult and frustrating".
She said she was concerned the virus was still spreading among essential workers and household contacts.
"Time and time again, cases are popping up in workplaces, amongst workers in those critical places of employment," the premier said.
"We are now seeing the virus becoming more prevalent in Western Sydney than south-west Sydney."
Berejiklian said she wanted to ensure she did not end the state's lockdown prematurely.
"We know we've put in the hard yards for five weeks and we don't want to waste all the good work that we've done by opening too early and then having the virus spread again," she said.
She said Covid-19 infection numbers could be much higher, but they were not where the government had hoped they would be when those stay-at-home orders were first introduced.
NSW recorded 172 locally acquired Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours to Monday evening.