Australia's most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) has reached a grim new milestone, recording 239 new local Covid-19 cases on Thursday.
Of those cases, the source of infection for 126 cases is under investigation, reports Xinhua news agency.
Another two deaths, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 80s, have also been confirmed, bringing the total number of Covid-related fatalities during this fresh outbreak to 13.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the grim statistics at her daily news conference on Thursday.
"Based on those numbers we can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better given the quantity of people infectious in the community," she said.
"Can we stress again most of these transmissions are occurring amongst households and in workplaces, but also in health settings. If you're going to a pharmacist or a GP, make sure you don't have symptoms, make sure you're asking for medical help from home if you need help whilst you have symptoms.
"We cannot continue to see transmissions increase in these settings," she added.
Overall, NSW now has 2,512 active locally acquired cases in the rapidly escalating crisis which began in the state's capital city of Sydney on June 16 with one case of the highly virulent Delta strain.
The national emergency has led to the state's Greater Sydney region being in lockdown since June 26 with no end in sight before August 28.
Within that lockdown, which affects about 5.3 million people, eight local government areas (LGA) have been placed under ever tightening regulations, such as only allowing authorized workers to leave the local areas for their essential jobs.
NSW Police Force Commissioner Mick Fuller has sought extra powers for police to ensure compliance within those LGAs, saying thousands of extra police would enforce the new rules.
"We know that the numbers are too high today," Fuller said.
"We all want to come out of lockdown. These new powers, the additional police into these areas, are about getting us out of lockdown sooner."