NSW records 1,284 new COVID-19 cases and 12 deaths as home quarantine trial for international travel announced

NSW will take “an important step” towards living with COVID-19 by allowing some returning international travellers to quarantine at home on their return to Sydney.

As her state recorded 1,284 new COVID infections and 12 deaths in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “nothing would give us greater joy” than seeing the state’s hotels returned to tourists, rather than being used as quarantine facilities.

The pilot, to be operated and monitored by NSW Health and NSW Police, will trial a seven-day home quarantine program for around 175 fully vaccinated people.

Currently, people coming to NSW from overseas must quarantine in a hotel for 14 days.

Participants in the pilot, which will be run in partnership with the Commonwealth, must have had both doses of a TGA-accredited COVID-19 vaccine.

The participants will be selected by NSW Health, based on a risk assessment framework, and may include some NSW residents, some non-Australian residents and some Qantas air crew.

NSW Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres described the trial as “an important step” in the state’s roadmap to living with COVID-19.

“We can’t stay closed forever. We’ve got to be able to learn what happens when we put people in home-based quarantine,” Mr Ayres said.

“Sydney is a global city and it must engage with the globe.”

He said the four-week trial would also help with Australian citizens who have been unable to return home during the pandemic.

“This is a really big step and a light for every Australian who are still overseas because of caps, and haven’t been able to come home,” he said.

“We want to be able to lift those caps and do that as soon as possible but we want to be able to make sure we do so in a very safe way.”

NSW reached another vaccine milestone, with 50 per cent of people aged over 16 now fully inoculated against the virus.

Two of the 12 people who died in the reporting period were in their 20s.

One was from Western Sydney and had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

She died at Nepean Hospital and deputy chief health officer Marianne Gale said she had underlying health condition.

The other was a resident at the Life Without Barriers group home in Wyong, on the Central Coast, and acquired her infection there.

She was unvaccinated. 

Three of the deaths were residents of aged care facilities in Dubbo, in the state’s west.

Three people in their 50s died, and the others were aged in their 60s ,70s, 80s and 90s.

Seven of the 12 people who died were not vaccinated, two had had one dose and three were fully inoculated.

There are currently 1,245 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 228 people in intensive care, 112 of whom require ventilation.

Of the people in intensive care, 172 are unvaccinated, 50 have received one dose and six were fully inoculated.

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