Covid NSW: Surprise new freedoms announced for millions

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·Assistant News Editor
·3-min read
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  • NSW sees deadly day with 13 Covid deaths

  • Public pools to open from September 27

  • Sydney areas of concern now the same as rest of city

NSW has recorded 1,083 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases to Sunday as premier Gladys Berejiklian announced new freedoms for millions of residents.

Sadly, NSW also recorded a further 13 Covid deaths. 

Public pools to open across NSW

From next Monday, September 27, public pools across the state will be allowed to open to the pubic in a Covid-safe way.

“All of us appreciate the importance of enjoying the warmer weather and the positive mental health of recreation and exercise,” Ms Berejiklian said.  

The Covid-safe requirements for public pools to re-open will be formalised and made public in the coming days.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed new rules for NSW lockdown. Source: AAP
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed new rules for NSW lockdown. Source: AAP

Lockdown rules equalised across Greater Sydney from tomorrow

Additionally, all local government areas across Greater Sydney will be deemed the same in terms of restrictions regarding exercise and movement. 

"Pleasingly, in the areas of concern, all the rules will be the same to the rest of Sydney," Ms Berejiklian told reporters Sunday.

"So relating to exercise, recreation or outdoor gatherings, everything will be the same across greater Sydney."

That means the 12 LGAs of concern will now have the same rules as the rest of Sydney from tomorrow with no limit on duration of exercise or recreation, and five person outdoor gatherings for vaccinated.

The changes exclude the rules that currently govern essential workers in those LGAs, however. 

"Except for the list of authorised workers, and the permit system," the premier added.

"And that is because those local government areas are still demonstrating a higher proportion of all the cases."

NSW police patrol the city on Saturday ahead of expected 'freedom' rallies.
NSW police patrol the city on Saturday ahead of expected 'freedom' rallies. Source: AAP

"I want to take this opportunity to thank those communities in western and south western Sydney who have been doing it tougher so long, they have led the way in our vaccination rates, they have shown us the way," Ms Berejiklian said. 

While she was cautious not to say the state had seen the peak of its deadly Delta outbreak, the premier said the "signs are positive".

'Life will be so much better' as vaccinations rise

The vaccination rate continues to rise in NSW, which leads the nation.

"Very pleasingly, New South Wales has completed 81.9 percent of first doses," the premier said.

"We would love to get that is close to 90 per cent as possible but we know that once we have 70 percent double dose, and 80 per cent double dose, life will be so much better than what we are experiencing now."

The premier also said 17 per cent of those aged 12 to 15 have now had their first dose of the vaccine. 

While the NSW government is eager to provide more freedoms, Ms Berejiklian warned the hospital system will be under immense stress in the coming weeks. 

"We are going to see things we have never seen before in our hospital system. We will see images, practices, things done differently, because our system will never have to cope with the likes of this again, we hope," she said.

"And that is why we have to be really careful when we start opening up."

On Saturday, across NSW 32 people were arrested over unauthorised anti-lockdown protests, with about 250 protesters rallying in Byron Bay and a handful in Sydney's west.

It came as the state recorded 1,331 new locally acquired Covid cases yesterday. 

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