NSW govt to reconsider plan to scrap masks

·2-min read

The NSW premier has rejected suggestions he values health advice less than his predecessor, as his government reconsiders a plan to scrap mandatory mask rules.

The government's roadmap out of lockdown stipulates restrictions will ease when NSW reaches 95 per cent double vaccination or on December 15 - whichever comes first.

The lockout of unvaccinated people will end and masks will only be required on public transport, planes and airports, and for indoor front-of-house hospitality staff.

But the restrictions are set to ease as the number of daily cases across the state remain in their hundreds, and the state moves into the peak shopping season in the weeks prior to Christmas.

The Daily Telegraph reports that has prompted NSW Health bureaucrats to push to keep masks mandatory in shops during the festive season amid fears of cases spiralling as COVID cases surge in Europe.

It comes as Premier Dominic Perrottet faces criticism his government ignored health advice during the state's recent lockdown, despite promising to follow it.

Mr Perrottet on Wednesday confirmed the government's COVID-19 subcommittee, due to meet on Thursday, would consider health advice around easing mask rules.

But he maintained that health impacts have to be balanced with other factors.

"We've always prided ourselves, over the last 18 months, on balancing the health needs with the economic needs," he said.

"It is the elected officials who are responsible if something goes wrong, that's on us."

He rejected accusations his predecessor Gladys Berejiklian lied when saying the government always followed the health advice.

"The premier made it very clear that when decisions were made, they were based off the health advice that we were provided.

"That doesn't necessarily mean that the health advice is exactly the position the government takes."

Mr Perrottet also brushed off suggestions his government placed less emphasis on health advice

"I don't believe anything has changed."

NSW recorded 248 COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, as vaccinations inch closer to the 95 per cent milestone.

NSW Health reports 92 per cent of adults in the state are fully vaccinated and 94.4 per cent have had one jab.

Most teenagers aged 12-15 have had their first jab (81 per cent), while 75.7 per cent of them are fully vaccinated.

Two deaths were also reported in the same period - an unvaccinated man in his 80s and a woman in her 60s who had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Both had underlying health conditions.

There are 195 COVID patients in hospital, 35 of them are in ICU and 10 are ventilated.

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