'Stand tall': NSW premier defiant amid calls for Omicron measures

·4-min read

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has urged people in NSW to get their booster shot if eligible, saying now is the time for the state to "stand tall" in the face of growing case numbers.

Sunday marked the third day in a row the state recorded a new record high of daily cases with 2,566 new infections announced this morning

Speaking to reports on Sunday, Mr Perrottet acknowledged the sacrifices people have made over the course of the pandemic and said no changes to the current easing of restrictions were planned. 

"We have not only the highest vaccination rates in the country but in the world," the premier said. 

"That enables us to learn to live alongside the virus. I know it seems like a cliché ... but now is our time as a state to stand tall, and we can do that."

In NSW, 94.9 per cent of people aged 16 have had one dose of a Covid vaccine, 93.4 per cent are fully vaccinated.

NSW recorded 2,566 new Covid infections on Sunday. Source: AAP
NSW recorded 2,566 new Covid infections on Sunday. Source: AAP

Mr Perrottet said the state government was constantly monitoring the situation as Omicron circulates in the community but called for calm.

"Our economy is strong, and we have been able to open up in a way that keeps people in work and allows them to provide for their families. And we'll continue that approach.

"We'll continue to monitor the situation. The health minister and I and our health teams speak daily in relation to it. It's a time for calm," he said. 

"This is all about taking personal responsibility and the people of New South Wales are doing just that. The government can't do everything."

The state opposition leader Chris Minns on Sunday called for the government to reintroduce a mask mandate, echoing calls from health leaders around the country

Health minister promises to consider 'all factors'

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard also reiterated the importance of people coming forward for their booster shots.

"I think there's only one club that people should belong to here in NSW, and that's the booster club," he said. 

Anyone over 18-years-old is eligible to get their booster shot five months after their second Covid-19 jab.

"We also strongly recommend that people aged 12 years and over who are severely immunocompromised have a third primary dose of vaccine from two months after their second dose," NSW Health says. 

"Talk to your GP for more advice."

Mr Hazzard urged people to stay at home if they have symptoms and not put friends and family at risk over the Christmas period.

"If you have any symptoms, go and get tested. Maintain that social distancing and of course, if you're in close proximity to people inside and it's a big group of people, consider wearing a mask," he said.

"We also have to live our lives in a more normal way coming into 2022. 

"We'll continue to strike that balance. We'll continue to look at all the issues that are happening around the world, but also here in our state, and we'll make sure that people's mental health and the economy is also well looked after by continuing to always look at all the factors."

NSW is
NSW is "prepared" to live alongside Covid-19, the premier said. Source: AAP

Premier flags the potential for future restrictions

Mr Perrottet said the government was "always" assessing the Covid situation and its response will be tailored as the situation evolves.

"That's exactly what we've done over the last two years. When we believe there's evidence in front of us we need to potentially tighten restrictions, we will," he said. 

The premier pointed to nations overseas, suggesting the likelihood of measures being required as we head into the winter months. 

"As we see overseas, as they head into the winter months certain challenges will come our way. There will be curve balls, certain things we don't expect. 

"There's almost certainly to be other variants that may come our way, and we'll need to respond," he said.

Overnight, the Netherlands announced it will go into lockdown over Christmas and the News Year period as Omicron surges in the country. 

Due to the high number of Covid cases in the state, NSW Health is now only doing genomic sequencing for the Omicron variant "in the circumstances where it will make a clinical difference to the care of a patient".

In NSW there are 227 people in hospital with Covid-19, with 28 people in the intensive care unit, 10 on ventilators.

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