NSW announces home quarantine trial as it posts 1,284 new local COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths

It comes as the Glen Innes and Hilltops areas in regional NSW return to lockdown for a week.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian Source: AAP

New South Wales has reported 1,284 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 12 more deaths, and announced plans for a home quarantine trial.

The trial for returning Australians to be able to quarantine at home instead of hotels is set to start at the end of September.

Two more regional areas also went back into lockdown for a week at 6pm on Friday - the Glen Innes council area, inland from Coffs Harbour, and the Hilltops local government area in the state's south, which encompasses the town of Young.

COVID-19 cases have been detected in regional areas of the state that were previously virus-free.

Albury and Lismore were on Thursday also sent back into a week-long lockdown.

Of the new deaths announced on Friday, two people were in their 20s, three were in their 50s, one was in their 60s, two were in their 70s, three were in their 80s and one person was in their 90s.

Of those 12, seven people were not vaccinated, two had received one dose, and three were fully vaccinated.

Of the two women in their 20s who died, one was not vaccinated while one had received one dose and had underlying health conditions.

Three of those to have lost their lives were residents of an aged care facility in Dubbo.

NSW has recorded 222 COVID-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

NSW Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Marianne Gale said there are currently 1,245 cases of COVID-19 in hospital, 228 people in intensive care, and 112 people who are currently requiring ventilation.

Of the 228 people in ICU, 170 are not vaccinated, 50 have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and six have received two doses.

NSW announces home quarantine trial as it posts 1,284 new local COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths

Dr Gale was asked about an emerging cluster across three public housing towers in the inner-city suburb of Redfern, many of whom are thought to be Indigenous.

While she didn't know how many of the positive cases were Indigenous, she said Aboriginal health workers were involved in supporting residents in the towers.

"Clearly, there are a number of Aboriginal families implicated with the situation and those housing blocks," she said.

For a full list of NSW COVID-19 exposure sites, click here.

Opening up to returning Australians

The NSW double dose vaccination benchmark has now tipped over 50 per cent, with the state expected to hit its 70 per cent target in the middle of October, and its 80 per cent target some time in November.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Friday the government was busy working on its plan to open up once the state reaches its 80 per cent target.

Part of this is the ability for returning Australians to quarantine at home, provided they are double vaccinated, and citizens being able to travel overseas, she said.

“One of the things that we expect to occur at 80 per cent is to consider our international borders. That's Aussies returning home through Sydney airport but also our citizens having the opportunity to go overseas when previously they weren't able to.”

The initial trial of home quarantine will involve 175 people who will undergo a seven-day isolation period at home. It will build on the evidence of the home quarantine trial currently being conducted in South Australia.

“Today is an important step on the reopening of New South Wales to the rest of the world,” NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayers told reporters.

“This is a really big step and a light for every Australian who is still overseas because of [arrival] caps [and] haven't been able to come home.

"We want to be able to lift those caps and do that as soon as possible but we want to be able to make sure we do so in a very safe way."

Ms Berejiklian said NSW has already welcomed home and quarantined nearly 250,000 Australians in hotels.

Published 17 September 2021 at 11:13am, updated 17 September 2021 at 6:05pm
By Caroline Riches
Source: SBS News