The NSW government says it is committed to restoring personal freedoms to fully vaccinated residents once the state hits 70 per cent double-dose coverage – regardless of COVID-19 case numbers.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the state could reach 70 per cent single-dose vaccination coverage within days, and at double-dose coverage – expected around mid-October – a number of freedoms will be restored to the fully vaccinated.
“We will stick to our word,” Ms Berejiklian said on Sunday after announcing a record new locally acquired 1218 cases.
“No matter what the case numbers are doing – of course, we want to see them come down – double-dose 70 per cent in NSW means freedom for those who are (fully) vaccinated.”
NSW also on Sunday reported six deaths in three people in their 80s and three in their 70s, none of whom were fully vaccinated, taking the death toll for the current outbreak to 89.
As of Saturday, 66 per cent of eligible NSW residents had got at least one vaccine dose, and 35.9 per cent were fully vaccinated.
The government, having reached a six million jab target, last week announced a “treat” for fully vaccinated NSW residents allowing them to have small picnics outdoors.
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell is confident that with rising vaccinations rates, students can start a staggered return to school from October 25, building up to having all students back from November 8.
“If we have any hot spot areas that still have high caseloads, then obviously we would need to look at what we do in those communities,” she told the Nine Network on Monday.
“But it’s just too early to say.”
However, there’s the hope of an earlier return to school in the regions if a lockdown was lifted earlier, she said.
A survey of 50,000 public school teachers found about 70 per cent had one vaccination, and 40 per cent were double vaccinated.
“So that is really encouraging,” Ms Mitchell said.
What are the freedoms exactly?
For Greater Sydney and regional NSW
From 12.01am on Monday, September 13, for people who live outside the local government areas of concern, gatherings of up to five people (including children, all adults must be vaccinated) will be allowed in a person’s LGA or within 5 kilometres from home.
Greater Sydney is in lockdown until the end of September, while the regional NSW lockdown has been extended until Friday, September 10.
For local government areas of concern
From 12.01 am on Monday, September 13, for people who live in the LGAs of concern, households with all adults vaccinated will be able to gather outdoors for recreation (including picnics) within the existing rules.
This is for one hour only, outside the 9 pm to 5 am curfew and within 5 km from home. This recreation hour is in addition to the one hour allowed in LGAs of concern for exercise.
For future freedoms
In a statement on Thursday 26 August about the “road map out of COVID”, Ms Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Health Minister Brad Hazzard said further freedoms would be allowed when the following vaccination targets are met.
70 per cent full vaccination: A range of family, industry, community, and economic restrictions to be lifted for those who are vaccinated.
80 per cent full vaccination: Further easing of restrictions on industry, community and the economy.
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