Australia

Celebrations as NSW hits 80 per cent double COVID-19 vaccination target

He added: “Summer in NSW is looking good.”

The double dose landmark means that restrictions will ease further on Monday, just one week after fully vaccinated people in NSW exited lockdown.

Community sport will be back on the table, as will house parties with 20 guests and outdoor gatherings of up to 50.

Masks will no longer be mandatory in office buildings. Caps will be lifted on weddings, funerals, and hospital bookings as well.

The confirmation that the state would be able to move to the next phase of reopening next week came after the government announced the next stage of its economic recovery plan.

Treasurer Matt Kean on Saturday pledged $183 million to fast-track the build of 1400 new homes in western Sydney, Coffs Harbour and Wagga Wagga, part of a plan to provide shelter for the vulnerable and create jobs for tradies.

“This will help us bounce back better because it will create 1100 new construction jobs, largely in western Sydney,” Mr Kean declared.

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The waitlist for social housing in NSW is currently 50,000 strong, with some waiting for up to a decade.

The news was immediately welcomed by the housing sector.

Shelter NSW CEO John Engeler tweeted that “any day when more vulnerable people get access to secure, affordable housing is a good day.”

Community Housing Industry Association CEO Mark Degotardi said it was “great to see this government stepping up to tackle the escalating housing crisis.”

“In previous years a string of state governments failed to invest in building new social housing, and that’s left our state in a dire situation today,” he said.

“Our state will need 5,000 new homes every year for the next decade if we are to keep pace with soaring demand.”

The support package includes $20 million for 45 new homes for large Aboriginal families, and another $20 million for new and upgraded social and affordable homes through the Aboriginal Community Housing Investment Fund.

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An extra 990 households will get the benefit of $10 million in rent assistance.

Meanwhile, NSW recorded its lowest number of daily COVID-19 cases in over two months.

The total of 319 cases was 80 lower than the previous day.

Two more people died of the virus – a woman in her 90s who was unvaccinated, and a man in his 60s who’d received one dose.

They take the death toll of the current outbreak to 460.

The number of people in hospital also continues to fall, standing now at 652, which is 25 fewer than reported on Friday.

Some 138 of those are in intensive care, seven fewer than the previous day.

NSW Health’s Jeremy McAnulty urged NSW residents to get tested as testing numbers dropped by nearly 20,000 to 66,311.

“High testing numbers are still vital in finding cases so that we can suppress the spread as much as possible to keep the community safe,” he said in a video update.



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