News State NSW News NSW has 248 COVID-19 cases, two deaths
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NSW has 248 COVID-19 cases, two deaths

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Masks could remain compulsory for NSW shoppers during the busy Christmas season. Photo: AAP
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NSW has confirmed 248 COVID cases and two deaths, amid speculation masks could remain compulsory for shoppers during the busy Christmas season.

There were 80,317 tests in the 24-hours to 8pm on Tuesday.

NSW Health reports there are 195 COVID patients in hospital and 35 of them are in ICU.

Now 92 per cent of adults in the state are fully vaccinated and 94.4 per cent have had one jab.

Most teenagers aged 12-15 have had their first jab (81 per cent), while 75.7 per cent of them are now fully vaccinated.

With further restrictions set to ease in three weeks, the Perrottet government’s COVID-19 subcommittee will meet on Thursday to consider whether mask rules will change.

The government’s roadmap out of lockdown stipulates restrictions will ease when NSW reaches 95 per cent double vaccination or on December 15.

The changes mean unvaccinated people can shop freely and masks will be required only on public transport, planes and airports, and for indoor front-of-house hospitality staff.

However, the Daily Telegraph reports some NSW health bureaucrats are pushing to keep masks mandatory in shops as for the peak Christmas season and amid a surge in virus infections in Europe.

Meanwhile, $10 million has been announced for projects to help border towns recover from the impact of border restrictions.

Deputy Premier Paul Toole said border communities in recent years had faced drought, fires, floods and a global pandemic, and the fund would deliver vital infrastructure to help them get back on their feet.

“We are committed to getting regional NSW back on track, especially the cross-border communities that carried an additional burden when borders closed due to COVID,” Mr Toole said.

Regional councils, community and sporting groups, and charities can now apply for the latest round of grants to deliver projects within three years.