Dr Kerry Chant had been providing the latest update on the Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney on Friday.
She then paused before wiping her right eye with her face mask, bringing the conference to a halt.
‘Sorry, I have something in my eye,’ she said.
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Dr Chant quickly realised she was using her face mask before apologising to the media.
‘I should not be using my mask for that but, sorry,’ she said. ‘If I could just get a tissue and apologies for that.’
The chief health officer was then handed a tissue before she turned around to clear her eye.
‘Sorry. Something was in my eye then. My apologies,’ she said, turning back to face the media.
NSW recorded 44 new local COVID-19 cases – the highest number of daily infections since the pandemic’s first wave in early 2020.
State premier Gladys Berejiklian said the number of cases in the community was a significant concern.
‘That is the number really concerning us,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
‘It tells us that in the next few days, those numbers are going to go up.
‘This is the opposite of where we need or want the numbers to trend.’
As a result, locked-down residents from 5pm will be banned from exercising more than 10km from their home, and only in groups of two people.
Funerals in these areas will also be capped at 10 people.
‘We are now not only looking at areas where the transmission has occurred but trying to prevent any super-seeding events,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
Ten COVID-19 patients in NSW are in intensive care, with four ventilated. The 44 reported cases came from more than 42,000 tests.
It comes after NSW Police said officers will patrol the streets of southwest Sydney to ensure compliance with COVID-19 health orders, with senior cops insisting the measure is not about discrimination or racism.
The crackdown from Friday comes after Ms Berejiklian hinted earlier this week the Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield and Liverpool council areas could soon be subject to stricter COVID-19 restrictions.