News State NSW News NSW remains on ‘high alert’ as state approaches 500,000 COVID-19 tests

NSW remains on ‘high alert’ as state approaches 500,000 COVID-19 tests

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says he was not contacted directly by Hillsong pastor. Photo: AAP
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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard says it is crucial that high rates of testing for coronavirus continued, particularly as eased restrictions meant restaurants and bars would open their doors to more patrons.

“It’s absolutely essential as we move forward and we try to relax some of the restrictions we’ve lived under for the past few months,” he said.

Nearly 40 per cent of people who had tested positive for coronavirus in NSW were aged between 20 and 39, Mr Hazzard said.

He warned people in that age bracket who had mild symptoms, or were asymptomatic, risked spreading the virus to friends and family members.

“Public health [authorities], and I as Health Minister, we are all on high alert.

“I want to emphasise again the danger of young people who may be asymptomatic or might have mild symptoms,” he said.

“As we are freeing up our restrictions, particularly around clubs and hotels and so on … these young people who may think they are invincible, are actually not invincible.

“With these freedoms come big responsibilities.”

Mr Hazzard refused to comment on the specifics of the rules, reiterating that industry consultation was ongoing, but stressed that social distancing was essential to the success of eased restrictions.

When asked about when beauty therapists can commence business again, Mr Hazzard said plans were in motion but did not provide a timeline.

Mr Hazzard also announced a $34 million program to train physiotherapists to deal with the “horrific lung conditions” associated with the virus.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday announced the “big and critical” step, but said strict rules would be in place for venues.

Venues will still have to allow at least four square metres of space per person.

Additionally, bookings of more than 10 will be banned, and patrons won’t be allowed to stand.

Currently, dining venues can only have a maximum of 10 patrons if they maintain social distancing. That includes alcohol table service with meals at NSW pubs and clubs.

Health authorities in NSW have confirmed three new cases of coronavirus from almost 9,000 tests done yesterday, bringing the state’s total infections to 3,086.

Of the three new cases, all were overseas cases identified during the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine, Dr Christine Selvey from NSW Health said.

She said there was no risk of community transmission from those cases.

-with agencies