Case numbers and 50 per cent vaccination rates key to some restrictions easing

Case numbers and 50 per cent vaccination rates key to some restrictions easing

Residents line up to get a Covid-19 Vaccine at the new dual Clinic in Roseville Sydney. Picture: NCA Newswire /Gaye GerardSource:News Corp Australia

Gladys Berejiklian has given a major hint on some restrictions could ease after August 28 despite lockdown likely to be extended.

The NSW premier gave two indicators that would be closely monitored in the days leading up to August 28 – the day the lockdown is scheduled to be either extended or lifted – which are case numbers as well as vaccination rates.

She said officials would also be looking at where the cases are concentrated and where they are spreading in determining which rules will be eased first.

If NSW achieves a vaccination rate of 50 per cent, and the case numbers have either been reduced significantly or are at least contained to smaller pockets of greater Sydney, then some measures could be lifted.

The most likely lockdown restrictions to end first relate to schools, gyms and hospitality venues although rules in those settings would still be robust.

Case numbers and 50 per cent vaccination rates key to some restrictions easing

Pubs such as The Orient in The Rocks could be allowed to reopen with only outdoor dining when restrictions are eased. Picture: NCA Newswire /Gaye GerardSource:News Corp Australia

“What life looks like on August 29 will be determined by what the case numbers are doing and also by our vaccination rate,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“Obviously the closer you get to zero, (the closer) you can get to life before the outbreak. But if you don't get to that number by that time, the vaccination gives you some level of protection as to what we can do.”

Ms Berejiklian said by August 28, health officials would feel more comfortable easing some restrictions if the virus was not travelling and was being contained to select areas.

“It’s important to consider a number of things. Whenever we get the health advice, it’s in a particular context,” she said.

“If there are people infectious in the community, where are they infectious? Is it concentrated in a local government area? Is it concentrated in a particular setting?

“Having higher rates of vaccination does allow us to consider opportunities to have some level of activity increase.

“Higher vaccination rates give us more options as to how our community can live as safely and freely as possible and they’re the options we’re looking at.”

Case numbers and 50 per cent vaccination rates key to some restrictions easing

Vaccination rates would need to be at least 50 per cent in NSW. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan CokerSource:News Corp Australia

Last week, it was flagged areas on the outskirts of greater Sydney could exit lockdown ahead of suburbs that have been harder-hit by coronavirus.

The government indicated to MPs in electorates on the fringes of the lockdown zone, where there has been virtually no spread of the virus, that restrictions there are being considered on a “day-to-day basis”.

This means they could be lifted ahead of other areas.

Central Coast MP Adam Crouch wrote on Facebook at the time: “I spoke to the Premier yesterday and she will end the Central Coast’s lockdown as soon as it is safe to do so. ”

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