The Greater Sydney lockdown has been extended after 27 new COVID-19 cases, with the state government considering new business support measures

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  • The lockdown restrictions impacting Greater Sydney have been extended for another week.
  • Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Wednesday announced stay-at-home orders and business closures, which were slated to expire this Friday, will instead last until midnight on Friday, July 16.
  • Health authorities on Wednesday revealed an additional 27 cases of COVID-19 detected the community.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

New South Wales’ lockdown restrictions have been extended by another week, as health authorities grapple with the growing number of COVID-19 infections detected in the community.

Speaking in Sydney Wednesday morning, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced stay-at-home orders and business closures covering Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast, Wollongong, and Shellharbour, which were slated to end at midnight Friday, will instead cease at 11.59pm Friday, July 16.

Concerns over the high transmissibility of the COVID-19 Delta strain motivated the decision, Berejiklian said.

“This Delta strain is a game changer,” she said. “It is extremely transmissible and more contagious than any other form of the virus that we’ve seen.

“The reason why the New South Wales government has taken this position is because we don’t want to be in a situation where we are constantly having to move between lockdown, no lockdown, lockdown, no lockdown.

“What we want to do is give us our best chance of making sure this is the only lockdown we have until the vast majority of our citizens are vaccinated.”

The lockdown extension means that until midnight next Friday, affected residents will only be able to leave the home for essential supplies, exercise, caregiving, work or approved education, and to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.

Restaurant and hospitality venues will still be permitted to serve take-away only. Essential retailers, like supermarkets and pharmacies, will remain open, but entertainment venues and gyms must keep their doors closed.

In-person schooling will resume in regional NSW from Tuesday, with students in Greater Sydney starting the new term with remote and online learning.

The decision reportedly came after Tuesday meetings of the state’s Crisis Cabinet Committee, which deemed the spreading COVID-19 Delta variant still poses too great a threat to the community.

On Wednesday, NSW Health revealed 27 new cases of COVID-19 had been detected in the community in the 24 hours to 8pm Tuesday, with 18 of those linked to a known case or viral cluster.

Those cases brought the total number of community infections detected since mid-June to 357.

As the state wrestles with the COVID-19 outbreak, it is likely the Federal Government will extend its designation of those local government areas as hotspots eligible for Commonwealth support.

That designation will mean that for another week, residents in those Greater Sydney local government areas will be eligible for the COVID-19 disaster payment, which offers workers who have lost hours due to lockdowns up to $500 a week.

Additionally, grants of up to $10,000 are available for businesses which can demonstrate lost turnover due to the lockdown restrictions.

Berejiklian said the state government will provide businesses a new timeline for post-lockdown conditions in the days to come.

“We want to provide certainty to businesses,” she said. “We know businesses have to plan ahead when they are taking bookings, when they are ordering perishable items.”

When questioned on new state government funding measures for the firms required to close their doors through the lockdown, Berejiklian said NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has been in communication with his federal counterpart Josh Frydenberg regarding new financial supports.

“We are considering all those options,” she said. “I know and appreciate how difficult it is, and the New South Wales government has already contributed billions towards our economy over and above what we anticipated to support everybody during COVID [through] direct grants or our measures we have undertaken.”

“If we need to do more, we will,” she added.