News Coronavirus NSW reports 173 COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths
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NSW reports 173 COVID-19 cases, 4 deaths

NSW COVID-19 cases
NSW is poised to announce new freedoms for residents after international borders reopened on Monday. Photo: AAP
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NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is poised to announce new freedoms for residents after the state reported 173 new local cases of COVID-19 and four deaths.

The new cases were recorded in the 24-hours until 8 pm on Monday from 58,988 tests and rose by 38 cases from the previous day.

There are 333 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals and 72 are in ICU.

Some 93.6 per cent of people aged 16 years and older have had one dose of a vaccine and 87.8 per cent are fully jabbed.

Mr Perrottet is expected to announce a further relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions after the state began transitioning out of a near four-month lockdown three weeks ago.

The changes so far only applied to people who are fully vaccinated. Restrictions for unvaccinated people aren’t due to end until next month.

The premier has flagged the state could aspire to a fully vaccinated coverage rate of 95 per cent of eligible people.

Mr Perrottet will join Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant for a press conference later on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the tourism and hospitality sectors are expected to make up for losses endured during months of COVID-19 lockdown ahead of what looks like a “joyful and celebratory” Christmas period.

Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond says the industry has been losing close to $4 billion a month with virtually no international visitors for almost two years.

On Monday, NSW began welcoming fully vaccinated Australians home from overseas, without requiring them to undergo quarantine.

Fully-vaccinated people are also free to travel anywhere in the state, setting the scene for a revival of hard-hit tourism and hospitality businesses in the regions.

Bookings for summer holidays in NSW are at a premium with many holiday towns on the east coast already fully booked.

“What makes this Christmas very different from last Christmas is the fact that there’s joy in the air,” Ms Osmond told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

“There’s a different kind of spirit this Christmas.  It’s going to be a very celebratory one,” she said.

However, states like Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory which are yet to open up to international arrivals are likely to miss out.

“They are not going to be getting the sort of Christmas summer holiday boost they might have expected because their opening is going to be so late,” Ms Osmond said.

“If we have any chance of getting international tourists back, you are hoping to come to lovely Sydney, of course, but you’re hoping to go to the Great Barrier Reef or Uluru or Ningaloo or the Barossa.

“We need certainty around borders for people to be planning those long-distant trips.”

Qantas flight QF1 left Sydney on Monday night bound for London via Darwin carrying outbound vaccinated Australians.

The first inbound flights under the new rules — carrying citizens, permanent residents and their immediate families — arrived at Sydney International Airport from the US, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Hong Kong, Fiji and Dubai on Monday.

Meanwhile, travellers from Singapore will be allowed back to Australia as part of a travel bubble from November 21.