Heavy fines and even jail terms for Australians who don't self-isolate after returning home from overseas kicked in on Sunday morning.
The new law came into force as the number of NSW coronavirus cases rose 174 in the 24 hours since Friday night.
The total number of cases is now 1791 cases, with eight deaths. Twenty-four people across the state are in intensive care units.
In the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, there were seven new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday, taking the overall tally to 69.
The Wollongong LGA has 38 cases, while Shellharbour has 14.
In NSW it is the 20-29 years age group that has the most cases, with 371.
From Sunday, returning citizens will now have to spend 14 days forced self-isolation in a Sydney hotel, a move NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard described as "absolutely crucial".
"We have still thousands of our people returning from some of the most dangerous places in the world for COVID-19," Mr Hazzard said.
"So to have this new measure will hopefully make a huge difference to ensuring those people are not out and about in the community."
People who ignore the self-isolation order can face an $11,000 fine or six months in jail.
Mr Hazzard also criticised those who were still not heeding the social distancing message.
"As Health Minister I cannot tell you how disappointed I am that there is a relatively small but very significant section of our community who think the world is as it was in 2019," he said.
"The fact is our world has an unseen enemy moving through it."
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