NSW has posted another 1257 COVID cases and seven deaths, as Premier Gladys Berejiklian provided a daily update days after saying she would quit them.
The fatalities confirmed on Monday take the state’s toll from its current outbreak to 184.
They were three men their 80s, two in their 90s, and two women in their 60s and 90s.
Ms Berejiklian’s Monday update came despite her announcement on Friday that daily coronavirus briefings from senior government officials, including herself, would cease.
It also came as NSW eased some rules for fully vaccinated people, including allowing picnics and more outdoor exercise. Across the state, 78.5 per cent of people 16 and over have had one vaccine dose, while 46.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Ms Berejiklian said overall vaccination rates in NSW continued to climb but there had been a “slight slowdown” recently.
“Today, there has been some easing of restrictions after we passed that six million jab number, but it’s way too early for any of us to get complacent,” she said.
“We are concerned that an unexpected event, a super-spreader event can suddenly have a major setback, and so whilst people start enjoying some things they couldn’t enjoy last week, I urge the community, please do not get complacent, do not let your guard down.”
From Monday, up to five fully vaccinated adults who live outside the 12 Sydney COVID-19 hotspots areas can gather outdoors within five kilometres of their home.
Vaccinated households that live in the 12 local government areas of concern will be able to gather outdoors for recreation for two hours outside curfew hours and within five kilometres of home.
Ms Berejiklian has promised further freedoms when 80 per cent of eligible NSW residents have had both vaccine doses.
“The government is yet to finalise its plans in relation to what happens at 80 per cent double dose,” she said.
“There is no doubt that once we start reopening, those that are unvaccinated are especially vulnerable.”
Western and south-western Sydney remained the areas of most concern, although the Premier said there were early signs of stabilisation in some Sydney council areas. However, cases continue to rise in inner-city areas such as Glebe and Redfern, as well as the Hunter, central coast and Wollongong outside the city.
“We can’t allow complacency to creep in. We have seen what the ravaging events of this virus is, how contagious it is,” Ms Berejiklian said.
She shrugged off questions about her return on Monday.
“I was always scheduled to do today because of the key milestones we announced. Obviously today is the first day many people have freedoms they didn’t have before,” she said.
“I’m always available, but I won’t necessarily be here every day at 11am. Some weeks I might be here every day, other weeks I might be here intermittently.”
There are 1189 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 222 in intensive care beds and 94 on ventilators.
Victorian cases jump
Victoria will crack down on the construction industry after another spike in local COVID cases, with 473 new local infections on Monday.
It is the state’s highest daily tally since the outbreak began and comes as the Andrews government continues its work on a roadmap out of lockdown.
The health department has confirmed 202 of Monday’s cases were linked to known outbreaks. The source of the remainder is still under investigation.
The new infections bring the total number of active cases in the state to 3507.
It came as the state government announced priority vaccinations and an enforcement blitz on construction sites across Victoria.
“We’ll have 50 teams out and about, each and every day, making sure that construction sites are doing the right thing, by themselves, by their employer, by their families and by their communities,” Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said on Monday.
“Given the health risks, the joint operation will have – and I need to be clear about this – a zero tolerance.”
Victorian authorities are particularly concerned about the spread of the virus across construction sites.
“This industry is in a very precarious position,” Mr Pallas said, adding the entire industry – including employers and workers – was on notice.
“We’ve had significant transmission on building sites and we simply cannot afford not to act if that continues to grow.”
Two new cases in Queensland
There have been two new cases of locally acquired COVID-19 in Queensland, both linked to a Brisbane school where a girl tested positive last week.
The two students attend St Thomas More College at Sunnybank, where a 13-year-old school girl tested positive last week.
The entire school community was sent into home quarantine last week. Households with children at the school are currently serving 14 days in home isolation.
Chief health officer Jeannette Young says there was a low risk of spread because of those arrangements.
However, one of the newly positive students was infectious for a very short period of time before entering home isolation, so additional exposure sites will be listed later on Monday.
“But I’m fairly confident that cluster is in hand,” Dr Young said.
Because of that confidence, she immediately lifted visitor restrictions on hospitals, aged care, residential disability care and prisons in southern Brisbane.
There were 14,506 tests and 15,378 vaccines delivered by Queensland Health in the past 24 hours.
That means 56.39 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have had one vaccine dose and 38.08 per cent are fully vaccinated.