New South Wales has recorded 78 new community cases of Covid-19, with 27 of those cases infectious while in the community.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the spread of the virus in workplaces and households was still a concern but that it is "always pleasing when we see a drop in the [daily] numbers".
"That 78 figure would have been much higher had people not been doing the right thing and we just need everyone to stick with it and make sure you protect yourself and your family and your work colleagues in particular," Berejiklian said.
She also thanked residents for coming forward to be tested. There were about 63,000 Covid-19 tests taken in NSW yesterday.
Data journalist Juliette O'Brien points out that the percentage of cases in isolation is not improving despite a drop in overall case numbers.
"This shows contact tracers are not getting to cases and it is not really improving," she wrote on social media. "This is directly linked to restrictions continuing. If [contact tracers] are not getting to cases, movement must stay limited."
Expert predicts prolonged lockdown
Millions of Greater Sydney residents could remain in lockdown for "at least a month", says a leading clinical epidemiologist.
Nancy Baxter, a Canadian researcher who is the head of the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, told Channel 9 that health authorities had tightened lockdown rules too late.
"If what they're doing is not working, they have to start doing something different … They took too long to decide to do something different," she said.
Baxter said while Sydney had "controlled things" now that it had cracked down, it would take a while for the tough restrictions to drive the number of people infectious down.
"It's like a bushfire right? If you leave some embers, they're going to start into flames," she said.
"And that's what happens if you don't kind of really drive the numbers down before you open up.
"Overall, the numbers don't need to be zero, they don't actually need to be close to zero, but it is that number of people who were out in the community when they were infectious … that's the number that needs to get to zero.
"They're pretty far from that. So how long is a lockdown going to last? I don't know, but I would say we're looking more like a month than a week."
Berejiklian has urged residents across Greater Sydney to adhere to the harsher lockdown measures that came into effect on Sunday.
People in the Greater Sydney region, including residents in the Fairfield, Canterbury-Bankstown and Liverpool local government areas, are now only permitted to leave their homes for four essential reasons: shopping for food or other essential goods and services; medical care or compassionate needs, including getting a Covid-19 vaccine; exercise outdoors in groups of two, who cannot travel further than 10km; essential work, or education, where people cannot work or study from home.
Most retail premises were also required to close and all non-urgent construction was paused. Employers must now allow employees to work from home if they are able, and failure to do so can result in a fine of up to A$10,000.
"We know these are difficult times but we also know that when we come together we can achieve what we need to achieve," Berejiklian said on Sunday.
"We are throwing everything at this. We want to come out of this lockdown as soon as possible. We want to make sure that we allow families and businesses in particular to bounce back as soon as we can and that is why we are throwing everything at it in the next two weeks."
Berejiklian said she believes the numbers of daily new cases will soon come down but suggested it may take a few days before the effects of the harsher restrictions were fully apparent.