NSW's daily Covid-19 cases have returned to triple digits after a daunting surge on Thursday as the state's plan to return to classroom teaching has been revealed.
Friday's 882 locally acquired cases is a significant drop from the record 1,029 cases announced a day earlier.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterated vaccination remains the key to exiting restrictions and hailed the 143,000 doses administered in the previous 24-hour reporting period as a "fantastic number".
There has now been 6,415,464 jabs administered in NSW, nearing two thirds of the 10 million target Ms Berejiklian has set.
However she warned Camden local government area and the remaining suburbs of Penrith could be added to the list of LGAs of concern following a rise in infections in those locations.
"Eighty per cent of our cases continue to be in western and south-western Sydney, at least. It's actually more than 80 per cent," the premier warned.
A further two people have died from the virus, a man in his 60s in western Sydney and a man in his 90s at Concord Hospital. Both had received one vaccine dose. Their deaths take the outbreak's toll to 81.
The state has now surpassed Victoria in the number of cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, which includes hotel quarantine infections.
On Thursday, Ms Berejiklian revealed a slight easing of gathering restrictions for vaccinated people which will come into effect on September 13.
For those outside of LGAs of concern, outdoor gatherings of five people can occur if all adults in attendance have received both vaccine doses and live within 5km of each other or in the same LGA.
If inside the LGAs of concern, gatherings such as picnics outdoors are permitted for vaccinated adults of the same household for up to one hour and within 5km from their home.
HSC exams postponed, schools return revealed
MS Berejiklian and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell revealed on Friday the state’s high school HSC exams will be pushed back to November 9.
They were originally due to start on October 19.
"We know what a difficult period of time this is and everyday I think about families who are struggling with home learning, working and doing all those things during the lockdown to keep us going and I just want to say how much we appreciate it," Ms Berejiklian.
“There has already been discussion with the university sector so no NSW student will be disadvantaged, it means the marking period and adjusting of scores will not happen until mid-January, but the university sector is appreciative of that and can accommodate that.”
Face-to-face learning will return in a staggered fashion from October 25, she added.
Kindergarten and Year 1 students will be the first to return on that date, followed by Year 2, 6 and 11 students on November 1.
The remainder of students will be able to return from November 8.
Ms Berejiklian reiterated her plans to begin opening the state up once 70 per cent of the eligible population have been fully vaccinated.
When pressed on whether hair and beauty salons were a priority in her plans, she said the state government was already working on industry plans.
"We've made those plans very clear, it will be a very staged and safe way to go back but we are asking industry to work with us and it is no secret we have been on that journey and when we are on a position to provide a bit more detail around what life will look like at 70 per cent double dose then we will obviously do that," she said.
"All of us will have more freedom, all of us will be able to live more safely and more freely with Covid."
More to come.
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