Gladys Berejiklian sets sights on October for end of lockdown

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hinted at an October end to lockdown, saying that by then she expects more than 70 per cent of the state will have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Ms Berejiklian avoided speculation on future case numbers, stating that modelling predicts they will continue to rise.

However, she has said that by mid to late October "life will be much freer".

"I do want to stress that once we get to six million (vaccines administered in NSW), it does give us options as to what we can consider in the months of September and October," Ms Berejiklian said.

READ MORE: NSW records 452 cases of COVID-19 and one death

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

"And obviously by the end of October, we will get to 70 per cent of double doses, which gives us more options about what we can do.

"Whilst there will not be complete freedom at 70 per cent, or even 80 per cent, depending on the case numbers, life will be much freer than what it is today and that's the point I want to make."

The premier said that although protocols like using QR codes, wearing masks and social distancing are likely to stick around for some time yet, "harsh restrictions" will no longer be necessary.

READ MORE: Delta variant continues its spread through NSW regions, making its mark as far as Broken Hill

"Even countries around the world with 80 per cent double-dose vaccinations still rely on QR codes and mask-wearing in certain settings," she said.

"We know that whilst the Delta variant in particular is very active around the world, there will always be a level of protection we need to have.

"But life will be much freer than what it is today and that is the key point. We won't have to live with the harsh restrictions that we're living with today. But that is why today and in the last few weeks, we've done a call-out not just to people in those areas of concern to get vaccinated, but especially our older citizens."

READ MORE: Australia administering 200 vaccines a minute

Broken Hill

In NSW today there were 452 new local cases of the virus detected, down from yesterday's 478 but still "disturbing high".

Of today's cases, more than 50 have been confirmed as being active in the community while infectious, while dozens remain under investigation.

Health authorities have also issued warnings for residents living in the state's regions, as the Delta variant continues to spread further and further from the outbreak's epicentre.

Fragments of COVID-19 have also been detected in sewage treatment plants as far as Ballina and Lennox Head, while in Broken Hill – almost 1,200 kilometres away from Sydney – a local case has been uncovered.

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