Military descends on NSW, 170 new cases

NSW has reported 170 new locally acquired virus cases with at least 52 infectious in the community.
NSW has reported 170 new locally acquired virus cases with at least 52 infectious in the community.

NSW has reported 170 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 as authorities chastise a western Sydney man who caught the virus, failed to self-isolate and visited another house.

It also comes as the military prepares to join NSW Police in the areas worst hit by Sydney's outbreak to ensure residents are complying with tough lockdown restrictions.

Of the 170 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, at least 52 were in the community during part or all of their infectious period.

While the number of daily infections was a significant dip on the prior 24-hour total of 239, Premier Gladys Berejiklian admitted case numbers were likely to keep "bouncing around".

There are 58 COVID-19 patients in intensive care, with 24 ventilated.

NSW Police said in a statement that a 35-year-old Granville man had attempted to attend last weekend's anti-lockdown protests in the Sydney CBD but was turned back and fined.

A day later, he tested COVID-positive and was ordered to self-isolate, but was not at home when police checked on him on Friday.

Police were initially told the man went to a construction site in Parramatta but was ultimately found at a Constitution Hill house.

He's yet to be charged and contact tracers are investigating.

"That sort of behaviour is exactly why we need strong health orders, law enforcement and defence, getting the highest level of compliance ... one person could spread the virus," Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

Greater Sydney and surrounds are in lockdown until at least August 28 as health authorities battle to contain an outbreak of the virulent Delta strain which has killed 13 people to date.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said people shouldn't be intimidated by the presence of 300 Australian Defence Force personnel in the streets of eight western and southwest Sydney council areas, announced by Mr Fuller on Thursday afternoon.

The commissioner said the ADF's presence would help officers double their capacity, particularly for checking on isolating close contacts, while the federal government hoped their attendance would give comfort.

"I want the presence of the ADF personnel to be a message of reassurance," Mr Dutton told reporters on Friday.

Mr Fuller said he recognised the presence of the ADF in southwest and western Sydney - the city's most diverse areas - may also cause some consternation, but said it was not unique.

The military has already supported hotel quarantine policing and police logistics and compliance during a 2020 border operation.

Yet the involvement of defence personnel in a civil obedience campaign raised concern for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, which on Friday argued it sets a "dangerous precedent".

Police will also target businesses breaching health orders, including those in the construction industry reopening from Saturday.

The two million people in the eight council areas - covering places such as Fairfield, Cumberland and Canterbury-Bankstown - can't leave those areas unless they are essential workers.

Masks are mandatory at all times, including outdoors.

Sydney Super Dome at Olympic Park will also become a Pfizer vaccination hub for Year 12 students in hotspot areas, ahead of their scheduled return to school on August 16.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian argued vaccination was the way out of the pandemic, with 3.6 million jabs administered in NSW to date.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard, meanwhile, said there had been instances in which southwest Sydney locals had hidden their illness - later found to be COVID-19 - from authorities due to fear.

Some of these cases are among those who ultimately died.

"We are hearing some families are staying at home when they have symptoms and not coming and getting tested," he said.

"We are here to support you and our health system is here to support you. If you have any symptoms at all, please, come and get tested ... if someone is sick, bring them to hospital."

Australian Associated Press