NSW records 319 COVID-19 cases as state closes in on 80 per cent double vaccination

NSW Health revealed on Saturday morning 78.8 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had two doses of a vaccine.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet speaks to the media during a press conference in Sydney, Friday, October 15, 2021. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi) NO ARCHIVING

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet. Source: AAP

Another 319 new local COVID-19 cases and two deaths have been reported in New South Wales, as the state rapidly approaches the 80 per cent double vaccination milestone set to trigger a further easing of restrictions.

The number of new cases reported in the 24-hour period to 8pm Friday is the state's lowest daily tally in more than two months.

The number of people hospitalised with the virus, now 652, also continues to fall. Of that number, 138 are in intensive care.

The two new fatalities - a man in his 60s from Sydney's Inner West who had received one vaccine dose, and an unvaccinated woman in her 90s from southeastern Sydney - take the death toll from the current outbreak to 460.

NSW residents have been urged to continue to get tested, with numbers in the 24 hours to 8pm Friday dropping by nearly 20,000 to 66,311.

"High testing numbers are still vital in finding cases so that we can suppress the spread as much as possible to keep the community safe," NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty said in a video update on Saturday.

NSW Health on Saturday morning also announced 91.7 per cent of people aged 16 and over have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 78.8 per cent have had two doses.

If the 80 per cent double dose vaccination mark is reached on Saturday or Sunday, NSW will progress to the next phase of its reopening roadmap on Monday.

That will mean the resumption of community sport, the removal of caps on weddings and funerals, and the return of dancing to hospitality venues.

But Sydneysiders wishing to travel to the regions will have to wait a little longer, Premier Dominic Perrottet announced on Friday. That easing of restrictions has been delayed to 1 November, to give those in the regions time to get their second dose.

That date will also see the state remove from hotel quarantine and isolation requirements for fully vaccinated international arrivals.

Some 210 hotel quarantine spots each week will be reserved for returning Australians who don't meet the vaccination requirement.

Funding for social housing and skills training

Meanwhile, the NSW government has announned it will fund additional skills training and fast-track social housing builds as part of its COVID-19 recovery plan.

An additional $183 million will go towards building 1,400 social and affordable homes, as well as providing more rent assistance in places hit hard by the virus, Treasurer Matt Kean announced on Saturday.

The government has allocated $50 million towards accelerating the construction of around 2,800 houses, including around 1,000 social homes in Western Sydney, Wagga Wagga and Coffs Harbour.

Some $20 million will go towards building new and upgraded social and affordable homes in partnership with Aboriginal community housing providers, while another $20 million will go on constructing about 45 new houses for large Indigenous families to support kinship living and reduce overcrowding.

An additional $3 million will support around 130 more vulnerable Aboriginal families through the Services Our Way program.

Some $10 million will also be allocated to providing additional Rent Choice packages to support 990 households to secure or maintain housing in the private rental market.

“This package will support the people of NSW through jobs for the construction industry, whilst continuing to tackle hard issues like homelessness, housing affordability and providing opportunities for homeownership,” Housing Minister Melinda Pavey said.

The state government will also put $100 million towards extending the JobTrainer program, which allows people to skill up for free or at a low cost.

The money will also fund ICT traineeships for the public sector, traineeships for Aboriginal students, and school-based apprenticeships, Premier Dominic Perrottet said.

With Amy Hall and AAP.

4 min read
Published 16 October 2021 at 9:15am
Source: SBS News