Life ‘pretty damn good’ by Nov: Hazzard

The state recorded 818 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, as well as three deaths.

All three deaths were in people in their 80s, with two from southwest Sydney and one from Newcastle. The death toll for the current COVID-19 outbreak is 74.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says a record 738,000 people were vaccinated in NSW last week, with 5.9 million jabs in arms to date.

Ms Berejiklian has previously flagged increased freedoms for fully vaccinated residents once NSW records six million vaccinations.

That total will likely be reached by the end of Monday.

She declined on Monday to discuss the types of restrictions which could be eased, saying announcements would be made by Friday.

However, this would not include an end to stay-at-home orders, which will remain in place until at least August 28 in regional NSW and at least September 30 in Sydney and surrounds.

But Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Monday told a parliamentary inquiry that life in NSW would be “pretty damn good” by November as vaccination coverage approaches 70 and 80 per cent.

Mr Hazzard also said he hoped to sign a public health order by week’s end mandating vaccination for NSW healthcare workers.

More than three quarters of healthcare workers in NSW have had at least one vaccine dose, rising to 89 per cent in metropolitan areas.

But the health minister said he wanted to be “as collaborative and encouraging as possible” given union concerns.

Ms Berejiklian, meanwhile, also promised to soon clarify whether school students will be able to return to classrooms in term four.

“It is important for us to minimise any risk when they go back to school … our health experts in particular are working (on) how the HSC can be done,” the premier told reporters.

“We have provided certainty for parents in terms of September … unfortunately we’ve said current conditions remain in place.”

There are 586 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 100 people in intensive care and 32 on a ventilator.

NSW Health currently manages about 500 intensive care beds but has a surge capacity of about 2000, with a ventilator for each bed.

The three new deaths include a man in his 80s from southwest Sydney who died at Liverpool Hospital, a man in his 80s from Newcastle who died at John Hunter Hospital and a woman in her 80s from southwest Sydney who died at Campbelltown Hospital.

Ms Berejiklian also said it was “disheartening and disappointing” that 60 people gathered at an illegal church service in the hotspot area of Blacktown in Sydney’s west on Sunday.

Police fined 30 adults $1000 each and the church $5000.

The Nigeria-based global leader of the Sydney church involved has falsely claimed vaccines alter people’s DNA and control people.

Meanwhile, a night-time curfew has come into effect for people living in Sydney’s 12 local government areas of concern.

A raft of new public health rules are also in place including the requirement for everyone in NSW to wear masks outside.

“Whatever vaccine you can get your hands on, please come forward and get vaccinated, that’s our strong message,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This is what will get us out of our situation.

“I also acknowledge every state is going to have to go through this transition one way or another … we can’t live in isolation forever.”

© AAP 2021

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