Sydney could be in for at least another month of lockdown with some parts of the city whacked with tougher restrictions than others.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said during her Tuesday update that a strategy of restrictions and vaccination would be the state's 'recipe for freedom'.
The state reported 172 new Covid cases, the highest of the outbreak so far, with at least 79 circulating in the community for all or part of their infectious period.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Tuesday Covid cases numbers were increasing in the city's west (pictured: Auburn residents in lockdown)
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews said on Tuesday his snap lockdown would be winding up after cases from the outbreak which began in Sydney's east leaked across the border.
South Australia, which dealt with a smaller outbreak from a returned Australian who was still infectious when he left hotel quarantine, is also getting out of lockdown.
Ms Berejiklian said the same would be the case for Orange in regional NSW but case numbers in Sydney prevented any significant easing of restrictions.
'We have our own course here in NSW. We have a mission to keep our community safe and also ensure we can live more freely - but clearly we are not at that stage yet,' she said.
'There is no doubt the NSW government does need to consider some difficult decisions. We don't want people infectious in the community when we open up.
'We've seen around the world when you have too many people who are infectious in the community and you open up to early, countries that have claimed to have done well with Covid, that have much higher vaccination rates than ours have failed with delta because they opened up too early.
'We don't want to waste the great work that we've done.'
While Victoria will lift a snap lockdown this week, Sydneysiders look to be in for at least another month of restrictions
The city's south-west has been where the bulk of cases were being found in the outbreak, but Ms Berejiklian said the community efforts had contributed to a drop in recent days - adding that the area of concern had moved towards the city's west.
Of the 172 locally acquired cases reported to 8pm last night, 65 are from South Western Sydney Local Health District - down from 72 the previous day.
However, 54 are from Western Sydney Local Health District - up from 32 the previous day.
Additionally on Tuesday, 27 of the cases are from Sydney, 12 are from Northern Sydney, 11 are from South Eastern Sydney, and there is one case from each of Nepean Blue Mountains, Illawarra Shoalhaven and Southern NSW.
'Are the numbers in certain parts of Sydney where we want? They're not, and that's why the government will consider the health advice [on restrictions] beyond July 31,' Ms Berejiklian said.
'We're seeing the virus become more prominent in western Sydney, though of course we need the south-west to stay vigilant.'
Ms Berejiklian specifically mentioned an increase in case numbers in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool, Cumberland, and Parramatta local councils and urged residents to get tested and follow stay-at-home orders.
Ms Berejiklian said vaccines being administered in the next month were key to easing restrictions with the AstraZeneca jab now available to anyone over 18 at pharmacies
However, when asked directly if those areas were in line for harder restrictions, the premier remained tight-lipped.
'The health experts give us good data on how the virus is transmitting. Workplaces and households we need to focus on,' she said.
'But it's also clear we need to intensify our strategy to ensure the population gets vaccinated.'
About 100 people in a five-storey apartment building in Blacktown in the city's west are already in strict isolation and being urgently tested after six Covid cases were found in across three units.
The building is under police guard with residents unable to leave and food being delivered.
Ms Berejiklian hinted that residents across Sydney would have to wait for at least another month to see any easing of lockdown.
'We know that a strategy of restrictions and vaccines will be our recipe for freedom. And if we make sure August is a month where we all get vaccinated we will be able to live life more freely moving forward,' she said.
An apartment building in Blacktown (pictured) has been plunged into isolation after six residents tested positive to Covid
The apartment building is under police guard and residents are getting tested (pictured)
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called for harsher lockdown in Sydney as he announced travel from NSW towns near the Victorian border would no longer be allowed into the state.
From Wednesday, residents of Wagga Wagga, Hay and Lockhart and Murrumbidgee councils will need a permit to enter Victoria.
'If you want to travel to Victoria from those four local government areas, you would need a permit,' Mr Andrews told reporters on Tuesday, adding that only essential workers would get the permits.
'I take no pleasure in having to essentially lock out those four communities from Victoria, but there's a refusal to lock people in Sydney into Sydney,' he said.
Ms Berejiklian said she was 'looking forward' to reveal what restrictions will look like beyond July 31 as early as Wednesday.