Friends of a Sydney mum who died suddenly just one day after being diagnosed with COVID have warned their friends ‘Corona is real’ as NSW recorded its highest deaths of the pandemic.
Jamila Yaghi, who was in her 30s and had not been vaccinated, passed away at her southwest Sydney home and leaves behind four children and extended family.
At least nine people have died at home in western Sydney or southwest Sydney during the current COVID-19 outbreak, which began in mid-June.
Ms Yaghi’s shock death was one of 12 announced on Friday — NSW’s highest daily death toll of the pandemic — on another record day of 1431 infections.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejikilan warned case numbers were expected to get worse for the next two weeks placing the health system under intense pressure in October .
Ms Berejiklian said hospitals would be operating under crisis conditions in the coming months, but she said the onslaught had been planned for and people would get the care they need.
“Just because you hear about something done differently (in hospitals), I don’t want people to be concerned by that because that is what is in our pandemic plan,” she said.
Deputy NSW Chief Health Officer Marianne Gale said Ms Yaghi was tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday before dying the next day.
Granville MP Julia Finn offered her condolences on Facebook for the woman who was active in local groups and has been described as bubbly and engaging.
“Jamila lived in Guildford until recently and was deeply engaged in the community. She leaves behind 4 children and an extended family and many, many friends who loved her dearly,” Ms Finn wrote on Friday.
A friend remembered Ms Yaghi as “one of a kind” on social media, describing her as someone “who had the most amazing heart and soul who would run for others and bring laughter and joy in their lives and would forget her own grief!”
Others posted messages urging people in the badly affected areas of south-west Sydney to to take the virus seriously.
“Corona is real,” said Maysa Haoucher.
“Most of the people that I know that didn’t believe in it, now do due to the passing of Jamila.”
Victorians have been given a glimpse of what life might look like once the state meets its COVID-19 vaccination targets.
Premier Daniel Andrews is hatching plans to give vaccinated Victorians more freedoms and “lock out” others refusing to get the jab from venues such as sports stadiums, cinemas and pubs.
Discussions are underway with industry to see how a “vaccinated economy” would work, Mr Andrews confirmed, with the required technology set to be trialled in regional Victoria after it exits lockdown.
Mr Andrews also confirmed the government is working on a home quarantine program to bring stranded Victorian residents home from NSW.
The premier continued to push for people to take up 50,000 available AstraZeneca appointments, despite an extra four million Pfizer doses flooding into Australia this month as part of a swap deal with the UK.
A further 50,000 priority vaccine appointments will also be available for senior high school students from Monday, with pop-up vaccination hubs at several schools.
A four-year-old girl who was a close contact of an infected truck driver who sparked an alert this week has tested positive, forcing a primary school into quarantine.
The girl’s case was revealed late on Friday.
The child attended the Boulevard Early Learning Centre – Mt Warren Park on Tuesday and Wednesday which also used for after-school care for students from Windaroo State School.
All students, staff and visitors who attended the school between Tuesday and Friday have been told to quarantine with their household for 14 days.
Injection of extra doses
A deal with the UK to provide four million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will cover a fortnight of doses but the prime minister believes it is still a “great cause for hope”.
The extra doses will arrive in Australia this month and be paid back later.
Pfizer is now available for Australians aged 16-39 with bookings for 12-15 year olds open from September 13.
The UK doses will be distributed on an equal population share basis, with 60 per cent delivered through the primary care network and 40 per cent through state-based vaccination clinics.
However, health authorities are keen for as many people as possible to book in for AstraZeneca shots, which are in plentiful supply and rated just as effective.
Another 300,000 people received a jab in the past 24 hours as double-dose coverage for people aged 16 and over hit 37.12 per cent
The ACT leads the way, with 44.55 per cent of its over-16 population fully vaccinated, with WA trailing the pack on 33.26 per cent.
Scott Morrison met with state and territory leaders on Friday to discuss what public health measures could be removed when vaccine coverage targets of 70 and 80 per cent are reached.
However, they agreed further consideration was needed.
Updated Doherty Institute modelling on which the national reopening plan is based is expected to be released early next week.
The leaders also received a report on South Australia’s trial of home quarantine for returning travellers and heard from former health department secretary Jane Halton on her updated review of the quarantine system.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese welcomed the vaccine deal, but said it highlighted the government’s failure to acquire enough doses initially.
Truck drivers from extreme or high-risk states will need a negative COVID-19 test within three days of arriving at the border of Western Australia from next week.
Premier Mark McGowan announced the change on Friday, declaring the risk posed by truck drivers from COVID-hit NSW and Victoria was “just too great”.
“All truckies from high or extreme risk jurisdictions who want to enter WA will have to have returned a negative PCR test undertaken within the prior three days,” he told reporters on Friday.
Those without a swab result by the time they reach WA must get a rapid antigen test at border checkpoints at Eucla in South Australia and Kununurra in the Northern Territory.
About 10,000 rapid tests are being sent to the sites in preparation for the change.
It follows a COVID scare in the state last week, when two infected truck drivers travelled through NSW and returned positive tests in Perth.
All of their 25 close contacts have returned negative results as part of day-five testing.
Mr McGowan said he did not expect the change would affect essential supplies into WA, which has sealed its borders to NSW, Victoria and the ACT.