NSW has registered 1,431 new cases of Covid-19 and 12 deaths as Gladys Berejiklian warns that the worst is yet to come in the next two weeks.
At a news conference on Friday, the prime minister warned that the number of cases would rise statewide.
“As I’ve said before, the best health advice I have is that we expect a spike in cases in the next two weeks,” she said.
“The next two weeks will probably be the worst in terms of the number of cases.”
Despite the bleak forecast, the prime minister claimed the state was on track to reopen once it reached its 70 percent vaccination target by mid-October.
“Over 827,000 people in New South Wales have come forward to get vaccinated in the past week,” she said.
“This moving average that we have seen consistently in New South Wales gives us courage and hope that by mid-October we will see 70 percent of our adult population fully vaccinated.”
The new cases come as residents of Sydney’s coronavirus hotspots are now allowed to exercise as much as they want outside curfews after a one-hour limit was lifted
But people living in NSW local government areas of concern must be home by 9pm and not allowed to go jogging or walking before 5am
Of the new deaths, one was a southwestern Sydney woman in her thirties and a southeastern man in his seventies.
The new cases come as residents of Sydney’s coronavirus hotspots are now allowed to exercise as much as they want outside curfews, after a one-hour limit was lifted.
But people living in NSW local government areas of concern must be home by 9pm and not allowed to go jogging or walking before 5am.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced the easing of movement restrictions on Thursday, the same day the state reached 70 percent single-dose vaccination coverage for people aged 16 and over.
More than seven million jabs have been administered in NSW to date.
The milestone almost certainly guarantees that NSW will soon achieve a double-dose vaccination for 70 percent of the population, leading to wider easing of restrictions on the fully vaccinated.
The state reported 1,288 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. — a new daily record — and seven deaths on Wednesday.
The death toll from the current outbreak, which began in June, now stands at 107.
Ms Berejiklian said Friday that the relaxed restrictions would take effect immediately upon meeting the 70 and 80 percent jab targets.
However, there would be no additional easing of restrictions for Father’s Day on Sunday.
Ms Berejiklian also said her government would release its detailed plans for the health system next week as COVID-19 cases pile up over the coming months.
October is likely to be the worst month for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“Put it on the website, make it public, so that every citizen can feel comfortable that we have not only done the work and planning, but also have the resources to take care of the public,” Ms Berejiklian said.
While the NSW health system could rise to 2,000 ICU beds and an equivalent number of ventilators, unions and frontline health personnel have expressed concerns that staffing levels are not sufficient to manage this scenario.
Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced the easing of movement restrictions on Thursday, the same day the state achieved 70 percent single-dose vaccination coverage of people 16 and older (pictured, police checkpoint on Hume Highway near Chullora)
The milestone almost certainly guarantees that NSW will soon achieve a double dose of vaccination for 70 percent of the population, leading to wider easing of restrictions on the fully vaccinated
Starting Friday, NSW residents will also be able to hold and attend small weddings of up to five guests.
Meanwhile, seven men have been fined more than $30,000 for violating public health regulations by leaving Sydney and looking for work in the Lake Macquarie area.
NSW Police spoke to one of the arborists on Thursday after receiving a tip.
The man said the group had worked in the region during the week and returned to Greater Sydney on weekends – including to local government areas of concern.
The 27-year-old business owner had a Service NSW permit to leave Sydney and go to regional NSW, but police said it contained untrue and inaccurate information.
Multiple violations of public health regulations at a Waverley construction site — including failure to wear masks — have also resulted in fines of $13,500.
Greater Sydney has been on lockdown for nearly ten weeks, with stay-at-home orders valid for nearly three weeks statewide
Elsewhere, five schools in western Sydney have been closed for deep cleaning and contact tracing after members of the school communities tested positive for COVID-19.
They are Glebe Public School, Pitt Town Public School, Cambridge Park Public High School, Merrylands Public School and Hamden Park Public School.
A social housing block in Camperdown in western Sydney and another building in Wollongong have been closed after some residents tested positive.
Greater Sydney has been on lockdown for nearly ten weeks, with stay-at-home orders lasting nearly three weeks statewide.
More to come