NSW to review close contact requirements

·3-min read

The NSW government will reconsider the requirements for close contacts of COVID-19 cases, to avoid schools opening and closing as the state records 216 new infections and three deaths.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the crisis cabinet - now called the COVID Economic Recovery Committee - will review the issue next week.

"There will be positive cases in schools, but we don't want to close them for a substantial period of time," he said on Friday.

"I don't want kids sitting at home. I want them in the classroom."

The premier said by December 15 "almost every single restriction" will be lifted in the state.

Earlier on Friday, Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said QR codes could soon be retired in lower risk settings like coffee shops and shopping centres.

"If the vaccination rates maintain a high trajectory and we see lower case numbers, we can retire them in low risk settings but as we've seen in Europe you might need to turn them back on," Mr Dominello told ABC Radio on Friday morning.

"A high risk setting would be going into a retirement village or a nursing home where clearly there will be a need for check-ins for not just the immediate future but the foreseeable future."

The 216 new local cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday were diagnosed from 72,893 tests.

This was a drop of 46 cases from the previous day.

Three men died from the virus, none of whom were fully vaccinated, taking the death toll for the pandemic in NSW to 620.

An unvaccinated man in his 50s died at St George Hospital and an unvaccinated man in his 60s died at Wollongong Hospital while a man in his 80s, who had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine died at Albury Base Hospital after acquiring the infection at Corowa Hospital.

Some 196 people are hospitalised with the virus and 28 are in intensive care, 15 of whom require ventilation.

The state is inching closer to the 95 per cent mark for first dose vaccinations, with 94.3 per cent of residents over 16 having stepped forward for at least one jab. Some 91.5 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Of the 12- to 15-year-old age group, 74.6 per cent are fully vaccinated and 80.8 per cent have received at least one vaccine.

In his Friday update, NSW Health's Dr Jeremy McAnulty asked parents in particular to "watch out" for COVID-19 symptoms in their children and keep them home to get tested if any arise.

"That will help protect the rest of the school," Dr McAnulty said.

Meanwhile, a bill proposing to strip away workers' compensation protections for COVID-related claims has been sent to a committee which will report back early next year.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said the review would allow time to properly assess the costs of COVID protections put forward by the government.

"This is a win for frontline workers who protected us during the pandemic and we know will be called on again to protect us in the future," Mr Shoebridge said.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting