NSW records 270 new local COVID-19 cases, three deaths as nation hits 80% vaccination target

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NSW has recorded 271 new cases of COVID-19, with all but one being cases of community transmission.

The 270 local positive cases came from 72,350 tests conducted in the previous 24 hours, NSW Health said.

Meanwhile, more than 80 per cent of Australian residents over 16 are now fully vaccinated.

Coronavirus testing in a drive-through centre at Sydney’s Bondi Beach. Credit:Louise Kennerley

Three people across the state have died with COVID-19 – an unvaccinated woman from western Sydney in her 30s died at Westmead Hospital, an unvaccinated man in his 60s died at Wollongong Hospital and a man in his 50s who had received one dose of the vaccine died at Liverpool Hospital.

All three had underlying health conditions, NSW Health said on Saturday.

Their deaths bring the total since the Delta outbreak began in June to 536 people.

There are now 270 people with COVID-19 in hospital. Of those hospitalised, 55 cases are in intensive care and 27 are being ventilated.

A first vaccination has been received by 93.8 per cent of the state’s population over 16, with 89.4 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

NSW Health has also identified new venues of concern across regional NSW, including in Bathurst, Armidale, Coledale, Kelso, Lavington, Orange, North Orange, Thirroul and Wellington.

“We have been notified of a number of new venues of concern associated with confirmed cases of COVID-19,” the department said in a statement late on Friday.

The COVID-19 cluster in Moree, in north-western NSW, ballooned to 50 cases on Friday and a crew of workers from John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle were sent to establish a COVID-19 ward at the Moree Hospital amid low rates of vaccination and QR code use in the town.

NSW Health also warned sewage detection had found fragments of the virus in Uralla, Dungog, Byron Bay and Denman, where there are no known cases.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said more than 80 per cent of Australian residents over 16 are now fully vaccinated.

“That’s four out of every five [Australians vaccinated]. How good is that?” Mr Morrison said in a video posted to Facebook in which he stated more than 30,000 lives had been saved by Australians’ efforts over the past two years.

“This has been a true national effort: in cities and suburbs and towns, in hospitals and pharmacies, in aged care facilities, disability homes,” he said.

On Monday, NSW is set to enjoy the further easing of restrictions for the fully vaccinated, including no limits on visitors in homes and for hospitality bookings.

The density limit for indoor and outdoor areas, including non-critical retail and restaurants, will shift to one person per two square metres.

Singing and dancing will be permitted both indoors and outdoors, allowing nightclubs to return to normal operation, and brothels can reopen.

Amusement centres and play centres will also swing open their doors and indoor pools can open for all purposes.

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