Regional NSW workers return with one jab

·2-min read

Workers in regional NSW who've had a single COVID-19 vaccination will be able to return to their workplaces on Monday, when the state starts emerging from months of lockdown.

Deputy Premier Paul Toole says workers in regional areas who've had one jab will be given a grace period until November 1 to get fully vaccinated because it has been harder for people to access the vaccine in the regions.

The concession would ensure "we get businesses in the regions re-opening and local economies buzzing again", he said.

Under the roadmap announced by former premier Gladys Berejiklian, all regional NSW staff were required to be fully vaccinated to return to work on October 11, but significant changes were made to the plan on Wednesday night.

"Today we're getting ready for reopening the NSW economy in a prudent and COVID-safe way," Mr Toole said on Thursday.

The crisis cabinet - under the new leadership of Premier Dominic Perrottett - will now be known as the COVID and Economic Recovery Committee.

More than 70 per cent of adults in NSW are now fully vaccinated - triggering a range of new freedoms from Monday.

Mr Toole said there was no consideration given to expediting unlimited travel in NSW - which will be allowed when the state reaches the 80 per cent double vaccination milestone - expected on October 25.

However, people living in regional areas from Monday will be able to travel to other regional communities, he says.

"When we get to 80 per cent, people in Greater Sydney will be able to come out into the regions," he said.

NSW Health's Dr Marianne Gale said the spread of COVID-19 remained high in the Hunter New England district, with 83 new cases overnight.

Concerns also remain for the Illawarra Shoalhaven area, which recorded 60 new cases.

Of the 587 locally acquired COVID-19 cases reported to 8pm on Wednesday, there were 21 in the Central Coast, 20 in Nepean Blue Mountains, 15 in southern NSW, seven in western NSW, seven in northern NSW, four in Murrumbidgee and two in the far west.

Meanwhile, lockdown orders have been extended for a number of areas in regional NSW.

Due to recent new cases of the virus, stay-at-home orders have been extended for Oberon LGA, Snowy Monaro Regional LGA, and for Menindee and Sunset Strip in the Central Darling Shire until Monday.

NSW Health has detected fragments of the virus in sewage samples from Lightning Ridge in western NSW, Ballina and Uralla in northern NSW, and Bodalla, Bega and Merimbula in southern NSW.

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