COVID-19

State doubles down on way to freedom

John Barilaro told the Today show NSW would “start on that pathway” to freedom once the target is hit. “We’re saying 70 per cent double vaccination, businesses vaccinated, their staff that are vaccinated, will have a level of freedoms, family, community, industry or economic. We’re going to start on that pathway” he said.“As the largest economy and the largest state, we will influence the national economy but we can’t force other states to follow, but we’ve got to lead.Australia’s exit plan will be top of the agenda at Friday’s national cabinet meeting, but other jurisdictions have questioned previous discussions about the road map.“Regardless what happens in other states, even though they’ve signed up for it, we’re on the road map and on the pathway for opening at 70 per cent and then even further restrictions being lifted at 80 per cent,” Mr Barilaro told the breakfast panel.NSW recorded more than a 1000 new cases on Thursday, breaking the four-figure mark for the first time.Despite the ballooning cases, Mr Barilaro is confident about the reopening plans and vaccination rates continuing to surge.“We were confident as vaccination rates go up, the transmissibility of the virus will start to stabilise,” he said.“Dr Kerry Chant has touched on that. Maybe in a few weeks’ time we will start seeing that.”He said Queensland and Western Australia’s reluctance to open up and tough border measures would hurt their economy. “At some point they’ll have to open the borders, even if it is not to NSW but to other states or overseas arrivals,” Mr Barilaro said.“The reality is you can’t keep the borders closed until there is zero transmission. “We know with Delta that’s not going to ever be the case.”Three more deaths were reported on Thursday, including a man in his 30s. Two other men, one in their 60s and the other in their 80s, also lost their lives to the virus.They all died in their homes, Dr Chant confirmed.Dr Chant said they were all being cared for by the western Sydney health department and their deaths would be referred to the coroner.“They all deteriorated at home,” she said.“With Covid you can deteriorate, so if you’ve got any change in your breathing, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or your condition is deteriorating, do not hesitate.”

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