NSW is on track to hit its 70 per cent double jab target in a fortnight and could open up as early as October 11, the state government has confirmed.
Australia’s biggest state was hoping to reach the critical vaccination milestone in the middle of next month, and open up the following Monday.
In an interview with the Today Show on Tuesday, Deputy Premier John Barilaro confirmed ‘Freedom Day’ may be as early as the second Monday of October.
‘At this stage, it does look like it (the 70 per cent target) will happen just in the first week of October,’ Mr Barilaro told the program.
‘We said it’d be the Monday following. So, look, it’s very possible that it’s the 11th of October.
‘But definitely in the first or second week of October we’ll get the state open.’
The news is welcome relief to millions of residents in Sydney and surrounding regions desperate to be released from three months of lockdown with almost 53 per cent of the NSW population now fully jabbed.
The deputy premier confirmed who aren’t vaccinated will initially miss out on freedoms until the state hits the 80 per cent double dose target as he issued a blunt warning to those yet to roll their sleeves.
‘We’ve said before 80 per cent, nothing will happen but we’re just determining what happens at and above 80 per cent,’ Mr Barilaro said.
‘The crisis committee are considering that as we speak this week and we’ll look at what it looks like.
‘But it won’t be what it is today, there’s no doubt about that.
‘It’d be lesser restrictions but for those what are vaccinated that’s where the freedoms are so my message to everybody: get vaccinated.’
He stressed he and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian are on the same page when it comes to when the unvaccinated will enjoy the same freedoms.
NSW recorded 935 cases on Monday as infections dropped 1,000 for the first time in a month.
Mr Barilaro said it’s too early to say whether case numbers have peaked.
‘We peaked a couple of Saturdays ago when we were almost 1600 cases,’ he said.
‘Since then we’ve had a bit of a roller- coaster ride, as low as 1100, up as high as 1300, but then yesterday under a thousand.’
‘It may be possible that we peaked.
‘We predicted we would peak at this time, and let’s see what the next few days and what Saturday looks like as it seems to be Saturday where the big numbers normally come in.’