Lockdown lifts for parts of Southern NSW, communities urged to be vigilant

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro announces 12 LGAs coming out of lockdown.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has described today's decision to lift lockdown in some parts of the state a "surprise" but he was confident in the health advice that led to it.

At a regional media press conference on Thursday afternoon, Mr Barilaro said communities coming out of lockdown should still be vigilant.

"I'm always happy when we're lifting restrictions, but they can be short lived freedoms," he said.

"We know COVID is in some regional communities and the reality is with movement, cases can spread and areas can be put back into lockdown."

The Bega Valley Shire was one of the areas to come out of lockdown after two reported cases of COVID-19 in Merimbula turned out to be false positives.

But neighboring Eurobodalla Shire remained in lockdown due to six active cases in the community.

Mr Barilaro said while residents in local government areas where lockdown had lifted would have more freedoms, now was not the time to be complacent.

"My message is that these are not the school holidays, to have a travelling holiday. We will have that opportunity at Christmas," he said.

"We know there is a possibility of infection if we're moving around, so enjoy the time locally, don't risk being exposed."

Residents can travel freely between local government areas not in lockdown, but should avoid entering areas where stay-at-home restrictions were still in place, as they would need to follow the same rules when returning home.

Mr Barilaro said further information about schools returning would be given to the community on Thursday afternoon, but he did not expect students in Bega to be returning on Friday, September 16, the day before school holidays start.

Vaccine passport trial

As the state inches closer to the 70 per cent double dose target, and the freedoms to come with it, a trial of the vaccine passport technology will take place in some regional areas.

The passport is expected to be available in the Service NSW app as a QR code and will be trialed in areas not under stay-at-home orders before rolling out to the entire state.

Mr Barilaro addressed concerns from business owners who will have to turn customers away if they are not fully vaccinated.

"Industry and businesses have led the charge and asked for this [roadmap], because of the pain lockdown has caused," he said.

"Businesses don't have to open at 70 per cent, but if they want to open they need to follow the regulations about all staff and customers being vaccinated.

"Before we reach the 70 per cent target, there will be legislation changes to protect businesses from any legality around allowing only vaccinated people inside."

Mr Barilaro also called out to people who had received the Astra Zeneca vaccine to be aware they were now eligible for their second dose four weeks after the first.

"I'd ask people to get back in touch with their GP or pharmacist to change their second dose date," he said.

"The health advice is you can have your second shot after four weeks and there is plenty of Astra Zeneca in supply so no one should be having to wait until November if they received a first dose in August."

As for people who had received a Pfizer vaccine and were on a waitlist for their second dose, Mr Barilaro advised the community to keep checking for appointments opening up.

"As we get to the end of September and into October, more Pfizer doses will be coming and more appointments will be available," he said.

Photo: File.

Photo: File.

This story Lockdown lifts for parts of regional NSW but Barilaro warns freedom can be 'shortlived' first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.


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