The premier Dominic Perrottet has announced QR codes will be reintroduced in most settings as the state’s COVID cases continue to skyrocket ahead of the holiday season.
The news comes as NSW Health reports 5715 new COVID-19 infections overnight – a rise of 1952 on the previous day’s total. It is the highest number of daily COVID cases reported in any Australian state or territory since the outbreak began.
NSW #COVID19 update – Thursday 23 December 2021
In the 24-hour reporting period to 8pm last night:
– 94.9% of people aged 16+ have had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
– 93.5% of people aged 16+ have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine pic.twitter.com/iy3iv4yVa6
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) December 22, 2021
National cabinet meets
As new COVID cases continue to be a concern across the country, the National Cabinet met yesterday to consider further measures to combat the spread of the Omicron strain of the virus. While the premiers have ruled out a return to lockdown, mandatory masks have been reintroduced in the ACT, Queensland and Tasmania.
With the race back on to get people triple vaccinated, the state governments have also agreed to reopen a number of vaccination hubs that had closed following the rush to meet the 80 per cent double vaxxed deadline in October.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said any decision on reducing the interval between second and third doses was to be made by ATAGI and currently the advice was at five months from the last dose unless immunocompromised. Morrison said National Cabinet had also agreed to reconsider testing requirements for interstate travel.
Free rapid antigen tests to be introduced in NSW
In an effort to ensure the state can keep up with the large number of people turning out for testing the NSW premier has announced free rapid antigen tests (RAT) will soon be available.
“As we continue to reopen in a safe and measured way, this is all about expanding our arsenal as we learn to live with the virus,” Perrottet said.
“People have come forward to get tested in record numbers, which is important to help keep people and the community safe, but we need to make sure our testing clinics are there for people who really need it.”
It is expected the RAT will be made available for free from NSW health services or may be available to order online. The premier said the state is likel to adopt a model similar to that in the UK.
“Where people can order rapid antigen testing kits to be mailed out to their homes, as well as being available for free at NSW Health facilities, local GPs and pharmacies,” he said
The news comes as RAT are selling out at many stores across the sate as people attempt to check their status ahead of attending family gatherings and large events this holiday season.
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