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Covid NSW: Daily cases drop as August vaccination target reached

  • 753 cases of coronavirus recorded in NSW

  • NSW Premier hints at freedom announcement

  • CHO suggests masks required 'for years'

NSW has recorded 753 new cases of coronavirus in a reprieve from back to back days of recording more than 800.

"Suburbs of concern remain Auburn, Merrylands, Yagoona, Guildford, Punchbowl, Blacktown and surrounding areas," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Tuesday.

"We ask people in those communities to be extra careful and assume every time you step out the door you have the virus or anyone you come into contact with has the virus."

No deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours to 8pm Monday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian takes questions during a COVID-19 update and press conference in Sydney, Australia.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks to the media. Source: Getty Images

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant urged people in the "suburbs of concern" Ms Berejiklian mentioned to "hold the course".

"Everyone is fatigued and tired. But it is incredibly important we increase vaccine coverage," she said.

The 'one extra freedom'

The premier confirmed NSW has now reached six million vaccine jabs, a target that had been set for the end of August.

"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.

People walk along the Bennelong Bridge, which runs between Wentworth Point and Rhodes.
People walk along the Bennelong Bridge, which runs between Wentworth Point and Rhodes on Monday night in lockdown. Source: Getty Images

The premier was also asked whether Sydney hotspots would also receive the same freedoms as their neighbours with lower transmission rates to which the premier replied: "we're having those conversations now".

Dr Chant described the decision as "very, very complex".

"I don't think it is appropriate that I just say something off the top of my head in a press conference," Dr Chant said.

It has not been stated what exactly the "one extra freedom" is.

Monday was the first day of tighter restrictions for NSW including the mandatory wearing of masks outside the home for residents in Greater Sydney.

The state also recorded 818 cases of community-transmitted coronavirus.

Indoor mask-wearing required 'for years'

Dr Chant has suggested mask-wearing might continue for a number of years even if an 80 per cent vaccination target is reached.

The CHO mentioned the Doherty Institute's modelling, which suggests with 80 per cent of the population vaccinated "you have options and choices", she said.

A shopper is seen wearing a face mask as they select fruit at a shop along Chapel Road in Bankstown in Sydney, Australia.
A shopper wears a mask while purchasing fruit at a store in Bankstown. Source: Getty Images

"It's not to say you're not going to have to calibrate and respond your level of restrictions, what you permit - it may be that we actually have indoor mask-wearing for years in certain settings," she said.

"We may have factors that you're only permitted to go to certain high risk venues if you're vaccinated and show proof of vaccination.

"The world is grappling with how we co-exist with Covid and the virus may throw us curve balls. You know, we've got the Delta variant (but) God help us if we have another variant."

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