NSW records 319 new local Covid-19 cases, down from almost 400 a day prior

Emily Cosenza and Rebecca Le MayNCA NewsWire
NSW recorded 319 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Saturday. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone
Camera IconNSW recorded 319 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases on Saturday. NCA NewsWire / Flavio Brancaleone Credit: News Corp Australia

NSW appears to be getting on top of its Delta outbreak as it marches towards the key 80 per cent double jabbed target, with 319 new locally transmitted cases of Covid-19 recorded on Saturday, down from almost 400 yesterday.

Two deaths occurred in the 24 hours to 8pm last night, including a man in his 60s from Sydney’s inner west who had received one vaccine dose.

The other fatality was a woman in her 90s from southeastern Sydney who was not vaccinated.

Both died in hospital.

The state recorded 399 new local cases and four deaths on Friday, when Health Minister Brad Hazzard said NSW was flying towards its 80 per cent double dose target, with more than 78 per cent of NSW residents aged 16 and over fully vaccinated and more than 91 per cent having had at least one dose.

He said that meant Monday was firming as the day more rules would be relaxed for fully vaccinated people under the “reopening road map”.

But in welcome news on Saturday, new Premier Dominic Perrottet announced on social media the sought-after 80 per cent milestone had already been reached.

Cafe Strips
Camera IconSydneysiders were out enjoying their newly restored freedoms on Saturday. NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi Credit: News Corp Australia

“Community sport will resume, more friends and family will be reunited, and there will no longer be a cap on guests at weddings and funerals,” Mr Hazzard said on Friday.

“Masks will also no longer be required in offices, and drinking while standing and dancing will be permitted indoors and outdoors at hospitality venues.”

New daily cases peaked in the state on September 3 at 1529, but that grim milestone was this week overtaken by Victoria, which set a new national record of 2297 two days ago.

That alarming number had eased to 1993 on Saturday, when Treasurer Josh Frydenberg criticised restrictions on Melburnians, saying it was a “very sad fact” they had spent more time in lockdown than any other city in the world.

“An elimination strategy is not a viable strategy,” he told reporters.

“What we need to do is learn to live with Covid in a safe way but what we can’t continue to do is lock down Melburnians.

Cafe Strips
Camera IconLife is going back to normal in Sydney, with more restrictions set to ease on Monday. NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi Credit: News Corp Australia

“Victoria’s announced you can come from Sydney here to Melbourne, or to regional Victoria but someone in Melbourne can’t go to regional Victoria.

“It is ludicrous and unacceptable.

“What Victoria should do is look to reopen in a safe way at the first opportunity as those vaccination rates really gain pace.

“People are doing the hard work, people are getting the jabs, people now deserve to get their freedoms and their lives back.”

His comments come as Sydney enjoys its first weekend out of lockdown in months.

Empty street scenes
Camera IconEmpty restaurants in St Kilda, Melbourne this week. Alex Coppel. Credit: News Corp Australia

New state Premier Dominic Perrottet was criticised by some as overreaching on Friday when he announced NSW would fling open its international borders to the fully vaccinated, with no quarantine required.

He was reined in a short time later by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who qualified that only Australian citizens and their immediate family members would be allowed to arrive in NSW from overseas, rather than tourists, students and skilled workers.

Mr Frydenberg said he’d like to see more borders open up, including Western Australia, which Premier Mark McGowan has signalled could remain closed off to the nation’s most populous states until April.

In NSW, 652 people are in hospital, with 138 of them in intensive care.

There has been 65,228 locally acquired cases reported in the state since June 16, when the first case in the Delta outbreak was reported.

NSW Health said on Saturday its ongoing sewage surveillance program had detected fragments of the virus in samples collected from across the state including Armidale, Woolgoolga, West Wyalong and Uralla.

Originally published as NSW records 319 new local Covid-19 cases, down from almost 400 a day prior

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