'A big day for our state': NSW prepares to reopen as it records 477 new COVID-19 cases

It comes as the state reached another vaccination milestone, with 90 per cent of residents aged 16 and over having received their first dose.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet speaks to the media during a press conference at the Marsden Brewhouse in Marsden Park, Sydney.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet speaks to the media during a press conference at the Marsden Brewhouse in Marsden Park, Sydney. Source: AAP

New South Wales has recorded 477 new local cases of COVID-19 as the state prepares to ease restrictions for fully vaccinated residents. 

There were also six deaths reported in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday - all men aged in their 50s, 60s or 70s, five of whom were not vaccinated. One had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

One new case was acquired overseas and one was acquired interstate, bringing the total number of cases in the state since the beginning of the pandemic to 68,523.

It comes as NSW will begin to open up from Monday when stay-at-home orders cease for fully vaccinated residents, after the state surpassed its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination rate early last week. 

Addressing reporters from a brewery in north-western Sydney, Premier Dominic Perrottet said it "is a big day for our state". 

"To those across NSW, you have earned it. It has been 100 days of blood, sweat and no beers but we have got through it and we are back in action tomorrow," he said. 

"It has been a very difficult time for the people of our state, over 100 days of people making enormous sacrifices,  not being able to say goodbye to their loved ones or get married, businesses closed and people out of work."

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet taps a beer keg during a tour of the Marsden Brewhouse in Marsden Park.
Source: AAP

From Monday, gyms, cafes, restaurants, pools, shops, hairdressers and beauticians will reopen and people will be allowed to venture more than five kilometres from their home.

Indoor and outdoor gatherings will also be permitted, with caps increased earlier this week to 10 and 30 people respectively.

However, the unvaccinated will remain locked down until December. 

As of Friday 8 October, 90.1 per cent of residents aged 16 have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 72.8 per cent are fully vaccinated. 

There are currently 794 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 159 people in intensive care, 76 of whom require ventilation.

Premier looks forward to reopening as NSW records 477 COVID-19 cases

The premier said the state is "leading our country out of this pandemic". 

"The vaccination rate and the increase that has occurred over this period of time, is not just leading the country but leading the world," he said.  

"Please treat everyone with kindness and respect. I know there is going to be some challenges as we go through this time. We are the only state that has gone down this path early that has opened up to those that are double vaccinated."

App to 'check in' vaccinated people will not be ready until next week

Meanwhile, regional trials of Service NSW's app update, which will simultaneously 'check in' a patron and verify their vaccination status, are underway in Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Tamworth and Port Macquarie. 

But the update will not be ready in time for Monday. Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello said he hoped to roll out the function on 18 October.

"So far so good, we’ve already had about a week of testing... it is really seamless so far," he told reporters. 

"This will not come into place until next week, because we have got to make sure we have the privacy and security setting in place for state-wide rollout.

"We are moving heaven and earth at pace to deliver this for the people of our state, because it is going to be a seamless experience using your Service NSW app."

In the meantime, NSW residents are asked to request a paper copy of their vaccination certificate from Services Australia or download the digital certificate from the Express Plus Medicare app. 

Published 10 October 2021 at 11:25am, updated 10 October 2021 at 1:05pm
By Lucy Murray
Source: SBS News