NSW beach crowds broken up, 11 new deaths

Large crowds have been broken up at popular Sydney beaches as NSW reported 1007 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths, including three undiagnosed people who died at home.

© Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS Despite a strong vaccination drive, COVID-19 cases remain high in west and southwest Sydney.

Hundreds of Sydneysiders converged on beaches in Bondi and Manly on Friday night, with police called to reports of increasing crowd numbers.

A NSW Police spokeswoman said eastern suburbs and northern beaches officers as well as council rangers patrolled the area and dispersed the crowd.

Three fines for public health order breaches and a number of a move-on directions were handed out to revellers in Manly. 

Online video showed little social distancing among the masses and large piles of rubbish left lying on the ground.

It comes as more than half of the cases diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday were in the hotspot areas of western and southwest Sydney.

Authorities are also concerned by rising case numbers in the Illawarra, south of Sydney, where 70 new cases were reported. 

Ten men and one woman died, with nine of those unvaccinated and two having received one jab. Three died at home – a man in his 40s, a man in his 50s, and a woman in her 80s. 

Their deaths take the toll from the current outbreak to 288.

“(It’s) sad that we’ve seen a number of people that have died with COVID and died at home and been diagnosed after they’ve died,” NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty said as he delivered a video briefing on Saturday morning.

“If you have the mildest of symptoms come forward for testing for COVID, and if your condition deteriorates call your doctor sooner rather than later, get medical help, and in an emergency call triple-zero.”

Another of the deaths was a Blue Mountains man in his 70s, who was a resident of the Uniting Springwood residential aged care facility. He was not vaccinated.

The other deaths were two people in their 60s, two in their 70s, two in their 80s and one in their 90s. 

Hospital and ICU numbers remain steady as the state approaches October, when hospitalisations are expected to peak.

There are 1187 patients in hospital in NSW, with 229 in intensive care and 118 on ventilators.

The state is just weeks away from reaching 70 per cent full vaccination of its eligible population, triggering the return of some freedoms for the vaccinated.

Currently, 84 per cent of NSW residents have had at least one vaccine dose, and more than 57 per cent are fully vaccinated.

But the government is yet to reveal what residents can expect when NSW hits the next target of 80 per cent.

The issue of when unvaccinated people will be allowed to attend restaurants, pubs and shops is undecided, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday describing it as a “challenging question”.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says he does not want a “two-tiered society” but Opposition Leader Chris Minns suggested the treasurer’s comments could undermine public health messaging.

“It’s really important the NSW government is singing from the same song sheet and continues to encourage people to get vaccinated,” Mr Minns said.

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