Port Macquarie and Muswellbrook in lockdown as NSW records 863 new COVID-19 cases

Queensland Health will reinstate the non-restricted border zone rules from 1am on Wednesday for Tweed Heads and Byron Bay as a result.

It means residents of the shires and Queenslanders travelling to those areas will be able to cross the border for work, education, compassionate care and essential shopping again, provided they’ve received at least one vaccine dose.

NSW recorded 863 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and seven further deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm Monday.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said 85.7 per cent of the state’s eligible population aged 16 and over have now had one vaccine dose, while 60.4 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The majority of the new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm Monday were recorded from the South Western Sydney Local Health District, with 241 cases, while in Western Sydney there were 161 cases.

The deaths were among four women and three men: one person was in their 40s, another in their 50s, two in their 70s, a further two in their 80s and one person was in their 90s.

NSW records 863 new local cases

Three people were fully vaccinated and three people had received one dose. A man in his 40s from Dubbo who was not vaccinated and had underlying health conditions died in hospital. 

Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Marianne Gale said the three who died despite receiving two doses were only recently fully-vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, the vaccine didn’t have enough time to provide the protection that we would have wanted,” she said. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday declared the beginning of the “COVID-normal” era from December, with the phasing out of statewide or region-wide lockdowns to begin within two weeks.

Socially distanced reintroductions to hospitality venues and hairdressers will likely begin from 11 October, at 70 per cent full vaccination coverage.

About two weeks later, the state is expected to reach 80 per cent coverage and travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW will resume.

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From 25 October, gathering caps will increase, entertainment venues can operate at 75 per cent capacity, libraries and museums can reopen and community sport will resume.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says police won’t be routinely stopping people asking to see their vaccination passports but will be available to help business owners who refuse service to anyone.

“We will not be walking through restaurants and cafes and pubs checking if people are double vaccinated,” he told 2GB radio on Tuesday.

From 1 December, life will return to near-normal for all NSW residents.

The “four-square-metre” social distancing rule reverts to two square metres and those who aren’t vaccinated can reintegrate with society.

Almost all remaining restrictions will ease at this point for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated.

With AAP

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