Regional New South Wales will remain in lockdown until at least Friday, 10 September due to concerns over the continuous rise of case numbers in the state's west.
However, those living in NSW can look forward to restrictions being eased slightly from the middle of next month as the state’s vaccine roll-out has been progressing well under the circumstances.
Today's announcements from Premier Gladys Berejiklian comes after NSW reported a new daily record of case numbers today, with 1,029 infections reported in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Three more deaths were also reported, bringing the number of deaths related to this latest COVID-19 outbreak in the state to 79.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the Western Health District was on a “knife’s edge” today, with the region reporting 35 new cases.
“We’re sitting on a knife’s edge - it’s a tinder box ready to explode,” the Deputy Premier said.
“I do apologise for those communities that don’t have any cases today, but I put it this way: the reason you may not have cases is because of the restrictions in place.
“Now is the time to stay united.”
Barilaro said he was particularly concerned about a case in the country town of Parkes.
“The case in Parkes concerns us because we can’t identify the source,” Barilaro said.
NSW Health's ongoing sewage surveillance program has recently detected fragments of the virus that causes COVID-19 at the sewage treatment plants in Tamworth, Merimbula, Cooma and Brewarrina. These detections are a concern as there are no known cases in these areas.
Premier offers a slice of hope for vaccinated population
After NSW achieved 6 million jabs earlier this week, the state’s Premier has offered vaccinated citizens a sign of things to come with restrictions to ease somewhat in mid-September.
From 13 September, households and families in the local government areas (LGAs) of concern will be permitted to leave the house for an hour of recreation, on top of the hour of exercise already permitted.
Families will be allowed to sit in the park for one hour, so long as all of the adults in the group are vaccinated.
Similarly, in areas outside of the LGAs of concern (the rest of Greater Sydney and regional NSW), five people will be allowed to gather outdoors as long as all are vaccinated from 13 September.
The changes to the lockdown restrictions will not impact any of the other rules currently in place, meaning the 5km radius travel rule still applies.
“We know that people coming together is what people miss the most,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
“And whilst there are various options that we looked at, that was the option that met the mental health needs and wellbeing of our community but also provided the lowest risk setting.”
Berejiklian reiterated that once the state hits the 70 per cent mark of its population fully vaccinated, which could come as early as mid-October, she will be in a position to ease restrictions further.
“We’re asking industry to dust off their COVID safety plans, get the QR codes in check,” she said.
“We’re also working on an app in New South Wales that will allow you to sign into the venue but also have proof of your vax all in one, to make it as simple as possible.”
Updated at 11.44am AEST on 26 August 2021.
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