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Covid-19 Australia: New South Wales recorded 1,599 cases as state passes 8 million jabs

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NSW has recorded 1,599 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths overnight with the state passing 8 million vaccine doses. 

Health minister Brad Hazzard celebrated the massive vaccination milestone as he fronted media for the second last daily press conference on Saturday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian was nowhere to be seen after previously announcing the press conferences would be replaced by video link updates provided by health officials from Monday. 

‘Yesterday, New South Wales Health, GPs and pharmacists vaccinated 114,546 people,’ Mr Hazzard said. 

‘That takes state vaccination rates to 77.3 per cent of the entire NSW adult population and 44.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.’ 

NSW has recorded 1,599 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths overnight with the state passing 8 million vaccine doses (pictured, Sydneysiders at Bondi)

NSW has recorded 1,599 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths overnight with the state passing 8 million vaccine doses (pictured, Sydneysiders at Bondi)

Health minister Brad Hazzard celebrated the massive vaccination milestone as he fronted media for the second last daily press conference on Saturday (pictured, NSW residents at Byron Bay)

Health minister Brad Hazzard celebrated the massive vaccination milestone as he fronted media for the second last daily press conference on Saturday (pictured, NSW residents at Byron Bay)

Of the new deaths, four were western Sydney men – two in their 70s, one in their 30s and one in his 50s.

Another was a south-Sydney woman in her 80s, a south-western man in his 80s and another man in his 40s. None of them had been vaccinated.

There are 1,164 patients being treated in hospital with 221 people in the intensive care unit and 94 on ventilation.

Prehospital and retrieval medicine specialist Dr Brian Burns said he was seeing too many young and unvaccinated residents end up in ICU.

‘It is awful to see these patients and these conditions. Often they are young,  previously healthy,’ he said.

‘One that stands out to me was a young woman I recently transferred who had just delivered a baby.’ 

The cases come as thousands of residents in a handful of Covid-free regional areas awoke to their first day of freedom in four weeks on Saturday.

Stay-at-home restrictions have lifted for much of the state’s northeast and southwest, including in the regional centres of Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga and Albury.

NSW has recorded 1,599 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths overnight with figures expected to peak next week

NSW has recorded 1,599 new Covid-19 cases and eight deaths overnight with figures expected to peak next week

There worse is yet to come in many of the locked-down areas, with cases expected to peak in the next week, putting significant strain on hospitals and ambulances

There worse is yet to come in many of the locked-down areas, with cases expected to peak in the next week, putting significant strain on hospitals and ambulances

Masks will be mandatory at indoor public venues, but hospitality venues, shops, sporting facilities and beauty services have all been cleared to reopen with restrictions.

Up to to five people will be allowed in a home and up to 20 can gather outdoors.

Entertainment venues like cinemas and theatres can also open with conditions, and outdoor and stadium events can also resume, with limits on attendees.

Weddings and funerals will be limited to 50 people, with churches and places of worship to open subject to the four square metre rule and no singing.

But for the bulk of NSW residents, those freedoms remain weeks away, with lockdown to continue in Sydney, for the southern parts of the state, the southeast, the Illawarra, the Shoalhaven, Hunter, Central Coast, central west and parts of the far west.

Despite the restrictions, crowds are expected to flock to Sydney’s best beaches this weekend with the warmest weather since January forecast.

Temperatures in the Harbour City are forecast to top 29 degrees on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and could even deliver the lockdown-fatigued city its warmest day in eight months is the temperature exceeds 29.2 degrees.

Despite the restrictions, crowds are expected to flock to Sydney's best beaches this weekend with the warmest weather since January forecast

Despite the restrictions, crowds are expected to flock to Sydney’s best beaches this weekend with the warmest weather since January forecast

Temperatures in the Harbour City are forecast to top 29 degrees on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and could even deliver the lockdown-fatigued city its warmest day in eight months is the temperature exceeds 29.2 degrees

Temperatures in the Harbour City are forecast to top 29 degrees on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and could even deliver the lockdown-fatigued city its warmest day in eight months is the temperature exceeds 29.2 degrees 

Mr Hazzard was asked by reporters whether he was concerned about the surge in crowds.

‘No, I am concerned about people who are not vaccinated,’ he said.

‘Fresh air we know is the safest place to be at the present time. Dr [Kerry] Chant and Doctor McAnulty have talked about that many times but we do state maintain your social distance and be careful.’  

The worst is yet to come in many of the locked-down areas, with cases expected to peak in the next week, putting significant strain on hospitals and ambulances.

Mr Hazzard batted away criticism from reporters who questioned the decision to cancel the daily Covid-19 press conferences while cases were still high.

‘I said to you earlier, there will still be regular press conferences, it is just they will not be seven days a week, which allows a little bit of time,’ he said.

‘We are getting up into higher numbers and we need to have the time to bring our focus with clear minds as to what we need to do… and that applies with everybody working in this building … but we need to balance that and make sure all the information gets out to the community.’

On Friday, Ms Berejiklian announced the press conferences would be replaced by video link updates that would be provided by health officials.

Mr Hazzard was asked by reporters whether he was concerned about the surge in crowds

Mr Hazzard was asked by reporters whether he was concerned about the surge in crowds

'Fresh air we know is the safest place to be at the present time,' Mr Hazzard told reporters on Saturday

‘Fresh air we know is the safest place to be at the present time,’ Mr Hazzard told reporters on Saturday

Mr Hazzard reassured reporters that press conferences would still be held when any big developments regarding the outbreak or decisions on lockdown needed to be made.

‘What was being said is that if there is nothing particularly new on that particular day, except the numbers, then we can go back to ,’ he said.

NSW ambulances are already enduring a daily level of demand typical of New Year’s Eve as they transport hundreds of suspected COVID-19 patients each day.

Some 3,500 people diagnosed with or suspected of having the virus were transported by ambulances in NSW in the past two weeks, NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dominic Morgan told reporters on Friday.

The number of new locally-acquired cases reported remains high too, with 1,542 testing positive to the virus in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday.

Nine people also died in the reporting period, including two who passed away at home.

Mr Hazzard dismissed the possibility of sending students back to school sooner given the state was ahead of its vaccination target. The state government intends to stagger the return from October 25.

‘As an ex- school teacher, I would love to get the kids back at school earlier, but I think the point the premier has made in answer to similar questions … the education system is a very big system and to be able to give a certainty is probably the priority and that is why it has been set at that particular date,’ he said.

‘I do not believe that will be moved forward. But the one thing I have learned in a pandemic is never say never.’  

NSW ambulances are already enduring a daily level of demand typical of New Year's Eve as they transport hundreds of suspected COVID-19 patients each day

NSW ambulances are already enduring a daily level of demand typical of New Year’s Eve as they transport hundreds of suspected COVID-19 patients each day



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