Fresh mental health funding as NSW reports 10 COVID-19 deaths and 301 local cases

It comes a day after the state reached its 80 per cent double vaccination target, clearing the way for a further easing of restrictions from Monday.

Shoppers walk around Pitt Street Mall in Sydney, Saturday, October 16, 2021

Shoppers walk around Pitt Street Mall in Sydney, Saturday, October 16, 2021 Source: AAP

New South Wales has reported another 301 local cases of COVID-19 and 10 deaths, as the state government announces new funding for mental health support and the arts sector.

There are currently 619 coronavirus patients in the state's hospitals, 137 of them in intensive care.

More than 69,000 COVID-19 tests were conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm Saturday, according to NSW Health.

Just under 92 per cent of people in NSW aged 16 and over have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 80 per cent have had two.

The 80 per cent double vaccination coverage has cleared the way for a further easing of restrictions from Monday, including a return of community sport and dancing at hospitality venues.

Premier Dominic Perrottet revealed the target had been reached on Saturday afternoon, saying that "summer in NSW is looking good".

It also means fully vaccinated people can have up to 20 people to their home, and 50 people can gather outdoors.

The 100-person cap for weddings and funerals will be removed, as will the five-person cap for beauticians and hairdressers.

As well, masks will no longer be required in office buildings.

Restrictions are set to remain for those who are not fully vaccinated until December.

Preschoolers and students in grades 1 and 2 are set to return to school on Monday, with the remainder to go back the week after.

The mental health funding injection of $130 million, announced on Sunday, aims to provide more appointments for psychology and psychiatry services throughout the state, address a rise in eating disorders and self-harm presentations, and free up more mental health beds.

It will also launch what the state government describes as the biggest suicide prevention training program ever undertaken.

"We don't want anyone to slip through the cracks but ultimately that will only go so far," Mr Perrottet told reporters on Sunday. 

"We (also) need to look after each other to get through this difficult time."

Some $86 million in funding has also been announced for artists, musicians, theatres, venues, festivals and cultural organisations to be delivered by Create NSW.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the stimulus would support individuals and businesses to bounce back quickly and reignite the economy through their cultural offerings.

With AAP.

Readers seeking support with mental health can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. More information is available at . supports people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

3 min read
Published 17 October 2021 at 9:06am
Source: SBS News