NSW has reported another 1035 local virus cases and five more deaths as its vaccination rate continues to tick up.
The state’s toll from its Delta outbreak has risen to 260, with the deaths of four women and one man aged from their 50s to their 80s confirmed on Wednesday.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said nine million vaccine doses had been given across the state, and 54.2 per cent of eligible NSW residents were fully vaccinated against COVID.
They include a quarter of 12-15-year-olds, ahead of classroom learning resuming in the state on October 25.
Most of NSW remains locked down and police are cracking down on compliance measures as authorities battle to contain the outbreak.
“When we hit 70 per cent double dose, irrespective of when it is, [we’ll be] ready to roll out that vaccine passport,” Ms Berejiklian said.
But a NSW Liberal backbencher said the state government has failed to adequately protect the regions from the risk of the virus after the the Byron, Tweed and Kempsey council areas in the state’s north were forced into lockdown.
The seven-day lockdown was mandated on Tuesday after a coronavirus-infected authorised worker with a valid permit flew from Sydney to Ballina on Saturday and was active in the community.
The lockdown prompted the Queensland government to exclude Tweed and Byron Shire residents from the border bubble, except for limited essential purposes.
The fully vaccinated authorised worker was working for the company filming the TV series I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!, which Liberal MP Catherine Cusack said was an unnecessary risk in a vulnerable region.
The Tweed Council had asked the NSW government not to approve it, Ms Cusack said.
Vaccination in the Tweed is below the state average with 71.7 per cent of people getting a first dose, while 45 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the NSW construction industry will return to full capacity from next week as the state’s vaccination coverage continues to grow, with hope community sport will soon follow.
From Monday, NSW will ease all capacity limits on construction sites while retaining the “four square metre” density rule.
The industry has been working at 50 per cent capacity, with vaccination requirements for workers from the 12 western and south-west Sydney local government areas of concern.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard also said cabinet was working on a plan to get community sport back.
One in 10 community sports clubs in Australia fear they will not survive beyond the pandemic, new research from the Australian Sports Foundation found, with lockdown and restrictions decimating their financial bottom lines and volunteer numbers.
There are 1232 virus patients in NSW hospitals. They include 242 in intensive care, 122 of them on ventilators.