Premier Gladys Berejiklian says she will announce later this week what COVID restrictions will ease in September for fully vaccinated people after NSW reached 6 million jabs and recorded 753 new cases. Ms Berejiklian said she was "deeply grateful" that NSW had reached the milestone of 6 million vaccinations. "I look forward to making the announcement on Thursday or Friday this week as to what fully vaccinated people will be able to do from the month of September because of the target we have set," she said. "Thank you to everybody who has stepped up and got the job. That equates to 60 percent of our population across the state with at least one dose." However, she wouldn't be drawn on whether that new freedom would also apply to the 12 local government areas (LGAs) of concern.
The Premier pointed to ongoing suburbs of concern, warning residents to assume they have COVID-19 or those around them are infected with the virus. "Suburbs of concern remain Auburn, Maryland, Yagoona, Guildford, Punchbowl, Blacktown and surrounding areas." Of the 753 locally acquired cases, 283 were from Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), 233 were from South Western Sydney LHD, and 73 were from Sydney LHD.
The Premier praised suburbs with high vaccination rates, including Burwood, Fairfield, Canterbury, and Bankstown, but she singled out Blacktown, which she said had gone from having the lowest rate to the highest. "I called out Blacktown because it's the area doing the best in vaccination rates so obviously people are accessing the vaccine," she said. "We've seen Blacktown go from one of the lowest rates of vaccination to the highest in the state. Thank you to the people from Blacktown for coming forward and getting the jab."
Chief health officer Kerry Chant warned people not to see the reduction in the number of cases as a trend. Dr. Chant said it may be mid-September before the increase in vaccinations would have an impact on numbers. "We are here for the long haul. I'd love to believe that we are on the trend down. That would give me joy," she said. "My public health contact tracers and public health units are working so hard so for them and the community and for everyone, I hope numbers are going to decline but one day is not a trend."
Dr. Chant urged NSW residents to get their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine as soon as possible and discuss with their GP the possibility of bringing it forward with a gap of four to six weeks. She said the focus for high case numbers remains on South-Western Sydney and the Western NSW local health districts. "The key message is we need to hold the course. Everyone is fatigued and tired," she said. "But it is incredibly important that as we increase vaccine coverage, we do all we can about further transmission and that we continue to see those case numbers reduce." Dr. Chant pointed once again to the Doherty report, which has created modeling recommending that when communities reach 80 percent vaccination levels, residents have more options and choices. But she said there may still need to be restrictions. Seventy-three cases were in isolation throughout their infectious period and 22 were in isolation for part of their infectious period. Forty-nine cases were infectious in the community, and the isolation status of 609 cases remains under investigation. There are currently 608 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 107 people in intensive care, 34 of whom require ventilation.