Covid 19 Australia: NSW to ease restrictions next week, Victoria records 1638 cases

New South Wales has recorded 587 new local cases of Covid-19 as the state prepares for an easing of lockdown restrictions.

More than 70 per cent of eligible residents aged 16 and older are now fully vaccinated against the virus, triggering an easing of restrictions from Monday under the state’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Once the 80 per cent target is reached – likely to be next week – there will be another wave of eased restrictions.

Sydney has been locked down since mid-June after the first case of Delta emerged in the Bondi area. It has since spread across the city and to the regions triggering several snap lockdowns.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet this morning announced the restrictions that will ease from Monday for vaccinated residents will include:

• The household visitor cap will increase to 10 people (after being originally set at five) and outdoor gatherings will increase to 30 people (after being set to change to 20)
• Weddings and funerals will increase to 100 attendees, after being set to increase to 50 in the original plan
• Indoor swimming pools will reopen for rehabilitation, children’s swimming lessons and organised lap swimming
• All NSW schools will be able to reopen by October 25

A number of changes have also been made to the 80 per cent reopening plan, including:

• Allowing 20 household visitors, excluding children (previously set to be 10)
• Allowing 50 people to gather outdoors (previously set to be 20)
• Up to 3000 people will be allowed to attend controlled ticketed outdoor events (previously 500)
• Nightclubs will reopen for seated drinking only, with no dancing allowed
• Masks will no longer be required in office buildings

“Face masks, obviously, are important” Perrottet told the ABC this morning.

“But ultimately, as you say, they’re an impediment for people going back into the office, so we made some changes.”

Victoria

Victoria’s roadmap out of lockdown remains “on track” despite record-high cases in recent days, according to a leading professor from the Burnet Institute.

Victoria recorded 1638 new Covid cases on Thursday, with health officials also announcing another two deaths.

Earlier this week the state broke a record for the highest ever daily cases in Australia, with 1763 infections reported.

But despite the high numbers, the Burnet Institute’s Mark Stoove said the state was still on its path towards reopening.

“The numbers that have been coming through over the last week or so have been high and they’ve been stabilising between 1000 and 1500,” Stoove told 9 News.

“But it is well within the bounds of our modelling. I don’t see any reason why the government would want to change its roadmap at the moment.”

Of the eligible population in Victoria, 54.5 per cent are fully vaccinated and 83.6 per cent have had their first dose.

Victoria on Wednesday announced it would roll out rapid antigen testing in the state’s healthcare settings.

More than 500 people are in Victorian hospitals with Covid, with 101 in intensive care and 66 on a ventilator.

Unvaxxed to be given $750 weekly payment

Unvaccinated Victorians who ignore the state’s jab mandates will be able to claim hundreds of dollars in government payments if they are sacked for not following the rules.

From October 15, all workers on Victoria’s Authorised Worker list will be required to have their first Covid vaccine dose in order to continue working onsite. They will need to be fully vaccinated by November 26.

This list includes thousands of different workers, from firefighters and police officers, to taxi drivers and actors.

The Herald Sun has revealed that workers who are stood down for not complying with the mandate will be eligible to claim Victoria’s Covid-19 disaster payment, which is A$750 for those who lose more than 20 hours of work a week and A$450 for those who lose between eight and 20 hours.

A spokesperson for Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie told the publication that the payments were “available to people who live or work in a commonwealth declared hot spot subject to a movement restriction and have reduced hours of work”.

“If a person is temporarily stood down, they may be eligible for Covid-19 disaster payment if they meet the eligibility criteria,” he said.

The Federal government payments will be available until 80 per cent of Victorians are fully vaccinated and when then be phased out over a two-week period.

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