Australia

NSW records 304 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths amid calls for regional travel delay

The 304 new local cases compares with 282 the previous day. The death toll from the current outbreak, which began in mid-June, is 506.

Of the NSW residents 16 and over, 93.2 per cent have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 85.5 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.

In the 12-15-year-old age group, 78 per cent have had their first dose and 53 per cent are fully vaccinated.

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Meanwhile, a leading epidemiologist has cautioned against fast-tracking plans for unlimited travel throughout NSW, saying it would be preferable to delay the move for a month to allow regions to boost their vaccination coverage.

The highly anticipated move to unfettered travel to the regions is slated to begin on Monday after being delayed due to lagging vaccination numbers in the regions.

However, Premier Dominic Perrottet has hinted it could happen sooner, saying his COVID economic recovery committee will be examining “aspects of the roadmap” this week.

“The vaccination rates have provided an opportunity to revisit some areas and we will look at that,” he said on Tuesday.

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But UNSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws has warned against expediting travel to the regions where vaccination rates lag.

“I wouldn’t do so, because 85 per cent is great (but) it’s not universal,” she told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

“It’s not across all regions or across all age groups,” she said.

About 60 regions have less than 85 per cent coverage and 14 of those local government areas have a vaccine uptake of less than 75 per cent, she said.

“It’s as low as, say, 50-odd per cent. So it will take them at least four weeks to get their vaccine rates up to 85 per cent,” she said.

“It would be sensible to wait for at least four weeks, so that all the regions can get up to 85 per cent and be safe to receive visitors.”



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