Covid Australia: NSW records just 667 Covid cases as 70 per cent vaccination to be hit in just days
NSW is just days away from the 70 per cent vaccination milestone that will allow Sydney to leave lockdown after more than 100 days.
The state recorded 667 new Covid cases, a huge drop from Saturday and the fewest new infections since August 20, though 10 people lost their lives.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said NSW businesses will resume from October 11 as locked down parts of the state gear up to reopen.
‘We will probably reach the 70 per cent double dose vaccinations by probably mid this week. That means the following Monday is the date that we have our first removal of the restrictions,’ he said.
‘That is a really big day for all of us who have lived through the agony of this pandemic.’
NSW has recorded 667 locally Covid cases as the state’s vaccination rates continue to rise. Pictured: A person runs along the coastal park at Bondi Beach in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on September 24
Mr Hazzard finally clarified the role police will have in enforcing bans on residents not vaccinated against Covid from entering most businesses.
‘The police role will be if someone has come into for example a retail outlet or a hotel and are not presenting evidence as is required of their vaccination, then of course the business proprietor or person on behalf of the business will call the police,’ he said.
‘I don’t think we as a community would expect, the police to be at every facility or every restaurant or retail shop. That is not what they do.’
Of the 10 deaths, two people were in their 50s, four people in their 60s, two people were in their 70s and two people were in their 80s – bringing the death toll from the current outbreak to 372.
Four were not vaccinated, four had received one dose, and two were fully vaccinated but had underlying health conditions.
There are 981 Covid-19 patients in hospital in NSW, with 195 in intensive care units and 93 on ventilators.
The state map’s roadmap out of lockdown hangs in the balance after Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s shock resignation on Friday.
Ms Berejiklian’s stunning decision to quit came soon after the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced it was looking into potential breaches of public trust.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is the frontrunner to take over as premier with Planning Minister Rob Stokes and Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres also considered contenders.
The NSW Liberal parliamentary party will meet to choose a new leader on Tuesday.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard (pictured) said he was ‘very sad’ over Gladys Berejiklian’s resignation, praising her service to the state
Mr Hazzard said he was ‘saddened’ by the premier’s resignation, praising her service to the state.
‘It’s a very sad situation. I feel so sad that the Premier is not going to be the Premier after Tuesday,’ he said.
‘She has done a job which has been unbelievable. I think we are as a community forever grateful to Gladys Berejiklian.
‘She has been an amazing premier, a person of high integrity and somebody that I would place my trust incompletely.
‘And I think that is what the community of New South Wales has done as well during these last 20 months.’
While NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said it was ‘inappropriate’ to comment on her feelings towards Ms Berejiklian standing down, she reiterated the premier’s dedication to her state.
‘The premier has worked tirelessly since the pandemic commenced through this most difficult time and I think her clear commitment to the community is so evident,’ she said.
Mr Hazzard said the state’s Covid roadmap would not be changed by new leadership, but admitted the government was ‘sorting out’ some issues.
‘In the last 24-48 hours I had discussions with a number of senior ministers about a number of health issues,’ he said.
‘We are focused on trying to make sure that our – our government is focused on making sure the community stays safe.
People leave flowers outside the home of NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian shortly after she announced her resignation on Friday (pictured)
‘This roadmap is part of that work and commitment and it will be only subject to change if the health advice is such that should be changed.’
Mr Hazzard said he believes there is a ‘fairly good chance’ the decision on a new premier will be resolved before Tuesday’s party room meeting, but both Mr Stokes and Mr Perrottet would do a ‘first class job’.
As case numbers continue to drop, Mr Hazzard urged fans to act responsibly ahead of the NRL Grand Final that will be held at Brisbane’s Lang Park Stadium on Sunday.
The massive sporting event is expected to draw in tens of thousands of spectators with thousands more to watch the match from their televisions in NSW.
‘All the hard work that we have done, to have gone from 1599 cases just three weeks ago to 667 cases today has taken a lot of hard work. Please don’t ruin that,’ he said.
‘This is a game that we all must win. We have to make sure that this virus does not get a hold and get back in the numbers that it can do very easily if we ignore the rules that our public health team have given us to keep us safe.’
NSW Health Chief officer Dr Kerry Chant said she could not comment on her feelings towards Ms Berejiklian’s resignation, but commended her efforts leading NSW through the pandemic
Sydney is expected to open up on October 11, the Monday after 70 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated, marking an end to a gruelling four-month lockdown.
Across NSW, 88.1 per cent of people aged 16 and over have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and 66.5 per cent were fully vaccinated by midnight on Friday.
Chief Health Office Dr Kerry Chant said there had been a ‘significant increase’ in cases in the Illawarra Shoalhaven health district where 49 cases were reported overnight.
There were 88,210 Covid-19 tests conducted to 8pm on Saturday night, compared with the previous day’s total of 98,266.
‘Please sustain those high rates of testing,’ Dr Chant said on Sunday.
Sunday’s infections – the lowest in the state since August 20 – are a massive decline from the 813 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 and reported on Saturday as NSW’s Delta outbreak continues to dwindle.
Ms Berejiklian said her resignation could not come at a ‘worse time’ as the state prepares to exit Covid lockdowns in coming weeks. Pictured: workers wearing protective equipment at the Manly Waves Studio and Apartments in Sydney on September 29
NSW Health detected virus fragments in sewage at Tweed Kingscliff and Tweed Banora Point in Northern NSW.
People in those areas were encouraged to seek Covid-19 testing with even minor respiratory symptoms.
Dr Chant said there was a significant increase in cases in the Illawarra, Hunter and Central Coast in recent weeks, and called for those with symptoms to come forward for testing.
Casino was placed into lockdown from midnight Friday until October 11, with stay-at-home orders applicable to anyone who has visited the northern NSW town since September 24.
Non-urgent day surgery will recommence in NSW private health facilities on Tuesday as transmission rates continue to fall, but non-urgent procedures at NSW public hospitals will stay postponed.
After four-and-a-half years in the top job, Ms Berejiklian on Friday said she would resign from NSW parliament as soon as a by-election for her north Sydney seat of Willoughby could be held.
The anti-corruption watchdog says it is investigating whether Ms Berejiklian ‘exercised public functions’ in a position of conflict given her secret five-year relationship with ex-MP Daryl Maguire, revealed at ICAC hearings in late 2020.
A wearied Ms Berejiklian said she had ‘no option’ other than to resign, as she could not temporarily step aside and resume her role after the investigation.
Sydney is expected to open up on October 11, the Monday after 70 per cent of the population have been fully vaccinated. Pictured: People picnic in Double Bay on Saturday after Covid restrictions were eased
She said her resignation ‘could not happen at a worse time’, as the state prepared to leave Covid-enforced lockdowns in the coming weeks.
‘I cannot predict how long it will take the ICAC to complete this investigation, let alone deliver a report,’ she said.
‘My resignation as premier could not happen at a worse time, but the timing is completely outside of my control as the ICAC has chosen to take this action during the most challenging weeks of the most challenging times in the history of NSW.’
‘Resigning at this time is against every instinct in my being and something which I do not want to do, I love my job, and serving the community, but I have been given no option following the statement issued.
The premier said the people of NSW needed certainty regarding who their leader was during these challenging times.
‘To continue as premier would disrupt the state government during a time when our entire attention should be focused on the challenges confronting NSW,’ she said.
‘I do not want to be a distraction from what should be the focus of the state government during this pandemic, which is the wellbeing of our citizens.’
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