NSW records 1035 new local COVID-19 cases

NSW has reported 1035 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and five deaths as double-dose vaccination coverage approaches 55 per cent.

© Jason O’BRIEN/AAP PHOTOS NSW has recorded 1035 new local COVID-19 cases.

Most of NSW is locked down and police are cracking down on compliance measures as authorities battle to contain the spread of the virulent Delta strain.

Of the five deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, two people were in their 50s, one was in their 60s, one was in their 70s and one was in their 80s.

It takes the toll for the current outbreak to 260.

There are 1232 COVID-19 patients in hospital in NSW, with 242 in intensive care units and 122 on ventilators.

“When we hit 70 per cent double dose, irrespective of when it is, (we’ll be) ready to roll out that vaccine passport,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

But a NSW Liberal backbencher says the state government failed to adequately protect the regions from the risk of COVID-19 after the the Byron, Tweed and Kempsey council areas in the state’s north were forced into lockdown.

The seven-day lockdown was mandated on Tuesday after a coronavirus-infected authorised worker with a valid permit flew from Sydney to Ballina on Saturday and was active in the community.

The lockdown prompted the Queensland government to exclude Tweed and Byron Shire residents from the border bubble, except for limited essential purposes.

The fully vaccinated authorised worker was working for the company filming the TV series “I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!” – which Liberal MP Catherine Cusack says was an unnecessary risk in a vulnerable region.

The Tweed Council had asked the NSW government not to approve it, Ms Cusack said.

Vaccination in the Tweed is below the state average with 71.7 per cent of people getting a first dose, while 45 per cent are fully vaccinated. 

Meanwhile, the NSW construction industry will return to full capacity from next week as the state’s vaccination coverage continues to grow, with hope community sport will soon follow.

From Monday, NSW will ease all capacity limits on construction sites while retaining the “four square metre” density rule.

The industry has been working at 50 per cent capacity, with vaccination requirements for workers from the 12 western and southwest Sydney local government areas of concern.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard also said cabinet was working on a plan to get community sport back.

One in 10 community sports clubs in Australia fear they will not survive beyond the pandemic, new research from the Australian Sports Foundation found, with lockdown and restrictions decimating their financial bottom lines and volunteer numbers.

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