In the news we’ve all been waiting for, New South Wales has finally recorded a drop in new local cases of Covid-19, with 753 recorded on Tuesday, compared with 818 on Monday, 830 on Sunday, and 825 on Saturday.
Of the 753 new cases on Tuesday, 619 were not able to be linked to a known case or cluster, and at least 71 of the cases were active in the community while infectious. Interviews are continuing for 609 cases, 7News reports. There are now 608 people with Covid-19 in hospital in NSW, including 107 in intensive care and 34 requiring ventilators.
The welcome fall in numbers on Tuesday comes as NSW marks an important milestone: with more than six million doses of vaccines having been administered across the state.
The achievement has led NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to announce that new freedoms will be announced by the end of the week. Berejiklian had previously designated the vaccine benchmark as a trigger for changes to restrictions, but she says they will only be minor and restricted to those who’ve had both doses.
NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant will give an announcement on Thursday or Friday, Berejiklian said. “To have so many people who otherwise may not have wanted to get the vaccine to come forward and get it has really lifted our spirits,” the premier added, on Tuesday. “This morning, Dr Chant, myself, the deputy premier and others discussed what we can announce on Thursday or Friday to allow our citizens to have the extra degree of freedom.”
The welcome news comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison challenged state premiers to open borders for Christmas, if Australia reaches its Covid-19 vaccination targets. Under the national plan, interstate travel will be allowed when 80 per cent of adults are double jabbed, however Western Australia and Queensland have cast doubt on whether they will open up as agreed.
Speaking to Sunrise on Tuesday morning, the PM said premiers must stick to the plan. “I believe we will be able to be in that position if we hit those marks of 70 and 80 per cent because there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be,” he said when asked if families would be able to travel during the festive season.
“It’s not a deal with me, it’s a deal with the Australian people who are keeping their end of the bargain, and they expect their political leaders to keep their end of the bargain.”
Morrison said premiers and the public need to shift their focus from new Covid-19 cases to hospitalisations and deaths, which vaccines help reduce. The PM also wrote an opinion piece about the current Covid-19 situation, which was published on Sunday.