New South Wales has recorded 1351 new local cases of Covid-19.
Twelve Covid-related deaths were also reported by NSW Health. The deaths include a man in his 40s, a man in his 50s, two men in their 60s, two women in their 60s, a man in his 70s, a woman in her 70s, three women in their 80s and one man in his 90s. The death toll in the current outbreak is now 210.
There are currently 1231 cases admitted to hospital in NSW, with 231 people in intensive care, 108 of whom require ventilation.
Since the outbreak began in mid-June, there have been 42,511 local cases reported.
Despite high infection rates, the planned easing of lockdown restrictions for vaccinated NSW residents could arrived sooner than expected due to surging vaccination uptake.
Under the state’s roadmap out of lockdown, vaccinated residents will be given new freedoms the Monday after the 70 per cent double dose vaccinated target is reached.
This target was initially expected to be met around October 18, but, according to 7News, the government is now considering moving it forward to October 11.
“We’re looking forward to getting to 70 per cent and given how our vaccination rate is going, we’re more and more confident that the date where we might hit double dose could be earlier,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Wednesday.
Currently, 48.5 per cent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated and 80.1 per cent have had their first dose.
Under the roadmap, vaccinated residents will be allowed to visit family and friends, go to restaurants and pubs, visit the hairdresser and gym, attend sporting events and travel into regional NSW.
Victoria has recorded 514 new local cases of Covid-19, the biggest jump in new daily cases since last August.
The state is now also set to reach its initial target of partially vaccinating 70 per cent of its eligible population either today or tomorrow, which is expected to trigger a slight easing of restrictions around travel and outdoor exercise time limits.
The new cases come as Victoria police prepare for a planned anti-lockdown rally on Saturday that authorities have deemed a potential “superspreader” event.
Melbourne’s CBD will be locked down and the public transport network to the city will be temporarily suspended between 8am and 2pm on Saturday in a bid to prevent the rally, Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton announced on Wednesday.
Buses will bypass the city and trams and trains will stop short of the CBD, with police on hand to ensure people are following public health directions and not planning to enter town.
“Anyone who’s planning to come in, it is an illegal gathering and we’ll be doing everything we can to prevent that gathering,” Patton said.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to prevent access to the city.”
Those entering the city risk A$5500 fines while A$1800 fines also apply for people outside their 5km zone.
The planned protest has been billed by organisers as a “worldwide rally for freedom” and will take place in cities across the country.
A similar protest drawing more than 4000 people in the Melbourne CBD on August 21 was marred with violence as police and demonstrators clashed.
Nine police officers were hospitalised due to injuries, with the force’s top brass branding it one of the most violent demonstrations in 20 years.
Specialist police donned in full riot gear and holding ballistic shields were forced to fire pepper ball rounds on demonstrators as they charged officers and breached the police line.
“We saw a convergence of people who were placing others at risk of potentially contracting the coronavirus,” Patton said.
“With the new Delta strain, the risk is exacerbated significantly. We can’t allow that to occur again.”
Barricades, traffic police and roving patrols will guard the CBD as significant police numbers are brought in to deal with law-breakers and violence.
The chief commissioner particularly urged against families and children attending.
“Do you really want to place your child, your family at risk in case a small group of people come in and … they’re intent on violence like they were last time?” he said.
“I’d urge everyone not to come in but this is certainly not a place for families, for children.”
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