NSW COVID cases grow by 882; two deaths recorded; NSW school return plan announced

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said about 70 per cent of their school workforce had received one dose of the vaccination, and close to 40 per cent have been fully inoculated.

She said they would be recommending primary school students wear masks, which are mandatory for all staff and high school students.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as details were released about the first students being allowed to return to school at the end of October.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian as details were released about the first students being allowed to return to school at the end of October.Credit:James Brickwood

“Students returning to school will be on level three restrictions, this is what our school community is used to,” said Ms Mitchell. “We will see other things like minimal mixing, not having extra adults, no assemblies or large gatherings.”

More than 80 per cent of Friday’s new cases were detected in the local government areas of concern in south-west and western Sydney, Ms Berejikian said.

Forty new cases were recorded in the Western NSW Local Health District, including 25 in Dubbo, and nine new cases in the Far West Local Health District, all in the town of Wilcannia.

“People in the affected areas throughout Western NSW need to be extremely vigilant and get tested at the first sign of symptoms,” NSW Health said.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said of the five cases in the Illawarra Shoalhaven LHD, three are in Wollongong and two in Shellharbour. There were two cases in the Hunter New England LHD and no new cases recorded on the Central Coast.

On Thursday the NSW government announced a rule relaxation for outdoor gatherings as the additional freedom for people fully vaccinated against the virus.

Appearing on Nine’s Today Show on Friday morning, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the new freedoms reflected advice from NSW Chief Psychiatrist Dr Murray Wright and the toll lockdowns have on mental health.

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“The ability to go out as a household and have a picnic, if you’re in those 12 local government areas [of concern], or the rest of Sydney, the ability to catch up with family at the park, they’re small things… But they mean a lot,” said Mr Barilaro.

From September 13, people who live outside local government areas of concern can socialise in groups of up to five people (including children, all adults must be vaccinated) within a person’s LGA or within five kilometres from home.

For those within LGAs of concern, households with adults vaccinated will be able to gather outdoors for recreation for one hour only, in addition to the hour allowed for exercise.

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An extension was also announced for regional NSW’s lockdown until September 10, following continued rising case numbers in the state’s west.

Meanwhile, The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for all Australians aged 12 and up after health experts said the increasing spread of the Delta variant made vaccinating adolescents even more important.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation announced the change on Friday morning.


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