Millions of residents could endure yet another extension of the coronavirus lockdown that has divided Australia's biggest city, with health chiefs warning that restrictions will continue if community transmission isn't quashed.
The state's chief health official admitted she hasn't ruled out extending lockdown after the outbreak that began in the city's eastern suburbs last month spread to the south-west, where the number of unlinked cases has soared.
NSW recorded 38 cases on Thursday, the state's highest number of daily infections since the first wave of the pandemic last year.
Police patrols will be ramped up in Sydney's Covid-riddled south-west from Friday morning to 'ensure compliance' with lockdown restrictions.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
The singling out of Liverpool, Fairfield and Canterbury-Bankstown residents and restricting their movement has outraged community leaders, who have questioned why their wealthy eastern suburbs counterparts haven't endured the same police enforcements.
NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant is concerned about the surge in unlinked cases and described case numbers as 'stubborn'.
Beachgoers have been able to flock to Bondi and other eastern suburbs beaches, despite being the origin of the latest outbreak (pictured, Bondi beachgoers last weekend during lockdown)
Police will ramp up their patrols of Sydney's south-west from Friday, with 100 extra officers stationed in the suburbs (pictured, police patrolling Sydney on Thursday)
'We are finding more unlinked cases now, where as early on it was very linked,' she told the Daily Telegraph.
Dr Chant said the drive towards zero community transmission will continues as the vaccine rollout finally begins to ramp up.
'It is hard with (the current) level of vaccine coverage not to see a significant escalation in cases,' she said.
'I'm also very conscious that vaccine will be available in the near future in sufficient quantities to protect us and (we can then) have a different conversation about community transmission at that time.'Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Dr Chant and other officials spent Thursday night amending the public health order to make it illegal for more than one person to visit another household to provide 'care or assistance'.
More than half of Thursday's new 38 cases were from Sydney's south-west, a region which takes in 110 suburbs, and is home to more than 820,000 residents and represents a 519 square kilometre swathe of the city.
Police patrols will be ramped up in Sydney's Covid-riddled south-west from Friday morning to 'ensure compliance' with lockdown restrictions
While Sydney's south-west will endure a heightened police presence in lockdown, those in the east have been seen packing beaches and parks (pictured, women swimming at Bondi Beach last weekend)
Bondi Junction: 19
Bondi Beach: 18
Bossley Park: 14
Cecil Hills: 14
Source: NSW Health
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian attributed the spike in cases in the region to non-compliance in the community and illegal household interactions, prompting a police crackdown on residents leaving their homes.
But Fairfield Mayor Frank Carbone and Canterbury-Bankstown counterpart Khal Asfour have jumped to defend their residents and pointed the blame at hotel quarantine leaks and the bungled vaccine roll-out for the spike in cases.
'Don't put this on south-west Sydney, I'm not going to cop this,' Mr Carbone told Nine News on Thursday.
'It's not our fault the virus is here. It's the fact that it keeps on leaking from hotel quarantine, and that's where people are frustrated.'
He later told Sky News: 'I just think we've got to work out a way to stop the virus coming in from hotel quarantine, it's a controlled area, that's where everyone's frustrated.
'Fairfield's a perfect example, an area that never had the virus, but the virus spreads.
'You need to contain it from its entry point, they need to put as much resources as possible to stop the virus coming in to play from the beginning.
'We had a nurse come from the inner-west and eastern suburbs come to Fairfield Hospital and contaminate one of our wards.
'We also had the West Hoxton cluster which came from the inner-city. That wasn't locked down or controlled and that spread across south-west Sydney.'
There are grave concerns for the rise of the number of unlinked cases in Sydney's south-west (pictured, a butcher's shop in Bankstown)
NSW Premier Gladys Berejikian (pictured) has come under fire for singling out Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown residents
But Mr Carbone's deputy Paul Azzo believes the crackdown will be a small price to pay if it can help slow down the spread of the virus.
'The fact that the proposed response was not adopted for earlier outbreaks in eastern Sydney and the northern beaches does not faze me,' Mr Azzo said.
Residents in Sydney's south-west have been told to expect a stronger police presence (pictured, shoppers in Bankstown)
'I see the proposed police response as a positive for South Western Sydney and I congratulate the premier for taking a special interest in the residents of Fairfield.'