Covid NSW: 1,288 new cases as restriction eased from FRIDAY

  • Exercise freedoms for LGAs of concern

  • 7 million jabs reached

  • State must accept ongoing deaths, Gladys warns

NSW reported 1,288 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Thursday as the state surpassed seven million vaccine doses.

The latest case total is the second highest of the pandemic and the sixth consecutive day reported infections have been above 1,000.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said reaching the latest vaccine milestone, which meant the state had given 70 per cent of the eligible population one dose, was "outstanding".

She said hitting the target had allowed her to ease restrictions for those in LGAs of concern.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been touting upcoming freedoms to residents. Source: Getty/ AAP
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been touting upcoming freedoms to residents. Source: Getty/ AAP

Anyone in those 12 areas will be able to exercise for an unlimited time, now aligning with the rest of the state. The easing will be implemented from 5am on Friday.

Ms Berejiklian previously set the state's target at 10 million jabs, with the state's last million doses coming in roughly eight days.

On Wednesday Ms Berejiklian told residents, particularly businesses, to "get ready" for a reopening, reiterating her plans for further social and economic freedoms once the state hits 70 per cent fully vaccinated.

Ms Berejiklian has regularly highlighted the importance of the first dose percentage, suggesting it is a near guarantee that figure will be reached for both doses.

The state is expected to hit 70 per cent double dosed by mid-October.

Ms Berejiklian said the public health team were now carefully analysing data in a bid to provide “further relief” to residents in certain LGAs of concern.

After hitting the latest target, Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said she believed Australia could become the most vaccinated country in the world.

"We believe in science and we believe in vaccines," she said.

With fears growing infrastructure will not be able to cope with an influx of hospitalisations moving forward, Dr Chant said preparations were done to bolster ICU capacity at the beginning of the pandemic 18 months ago and the community should be "reassured" the state is prepared.

The state reported a further seven deaths, taking the outbreak's death toll to 107.

NSW is nearing 1000 people in hospital for Covid, with 160 people now in ICU. Sixty-four of those require ventilation.

Covid deaths will be a permanent fixture, Berejiklian warns

Ms Berejiklian said while it was difficult, the nation would have to accept people will continue to die moving forward and beginning to "live with Covid".

"The sad reality is outside of a pandemic, we lose between 600 and 800 people every year to the flu," she said.

"We have to put things into perspective. Nobody likes to talk about this because it is confronting. But we have to get back to living life as normal as possible, knowing that Covid is among us."

As the state government pushes forward with opening up, Deputy Premier John Barilaro said ongoing discussions were taking place with the hospitality and tourism industries.

When pressed on possible trial periods of eased restrictions in areas of low infection and high vaccination rates, Mr Barilaro refrained from providing concrete details on plans however suggested such concepts were on the table.

Mr Barilaro said 18 of the 23 new cases in the Western Local Health District were in Dubbo, which is "the heart and centre" of the virus's outbreak in regional NSW.

More than two-thirds of cases in the region are in the Indigenous community.

Dr Chant said seven new cases in the Central Coast region were also causing concern.

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