A staggering 16 million Australians are now under stay-at-home orders as the deadly Delta variant wreaks havoc across the nation.
From 5pm yesterday, NSW's Hunter region joined Greater Sydney's lockdown after the city's outbreak spread outside the capital.
Victoria has also entered its sixth lockdown after eight new cases were officially recorded yesterday and four new cases today, while parts of Queensland also remain under lockdown.
It means more than 64 per cent of the country is now affected across three states.
NSW authorities are on high alert after it was revealed that new Covid infections were linked to a gathering at a Newcastle beach, sending regional areas into lockdown.
The beach party is one of the first known examples of outdoor transmission of the virus, alarming health experts.
While it is known the Delta variant was far more transmissible than earlier strains, the outdoor transmission has been a worrying twist in the latest outbreak, with epidemiologist Marylouise McLaws telling Australia's ABC network residents can't afford to be "complacent".
"If you're not at home indoors, take this very seriously," she said.
"We now need to understand that we are potentially at great risk of aerosol or airborne particles, those tiny droplet nuclei, that can hang in the air for longer if there's no wind, and that means that you can be at risk outside, not just inside," she said.
It comes after NSW recorded its deadliest day of the outbreak so far yesterday, with 262 new cases and five deaths.
As Victoria enters the first day of its sixth lockdown speculation is rife over what sparked this situation, with fears an "illegal" gathering may have played a part in spreading the virus.
Victoria has reported six new locally acquired Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours to midnight last night.
Two of these cases were announced yesterday but have been included in today's numbers, therefore it is a rise of four new cases since yesterday.
The rise in unlinked cases prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to announce a snap seven-day lockdown, which kicked in at 8pm last night.
Authorities are also investigating whether some of the cases may have a link to people who travelled to Victoria from NSW.
Andrews said there were "a couple of people" who came back to the state after undergoing hotel quarantine in Sydney who may have been visited by a positive case.
"It may well be the case that they've been visited, against the rules, by a positive case," the Premier said yesterday, before urging all Victorians to follow the rules.
"If we don't have that sense of common purpose and be as stubborn and determined as this virus, then we just have to look at what's happening in other parts of the country, and that will happen here," he said.
"There are many people, who are perhaps not doing as they should."
Police arrested at least 15 people and fined 16 others after there were mass protests in Melbourne's CBD as the state went into lockdown.
Police said a number of incidents will be criminally investigated, including the assault of a police officer where offenders allegedly pushed a police sergeant to the ground and kicked him.
A flare was also allegedly set off and protesters also damaged a police vehicle.
Meanwhile, the ABC has revealed that tragically, 54 Australian citizens have died from Covid-19 overseas.
Sadly, three had registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and were desperate for assistance when they died.