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Millions of Sydneysiders are enjoying more freedoms as NSW recorded 935 new coronavirus cases and four deaths. 

Residents trapped in a soul-crushing ultra-hard lockdown in the city’s Covid hotspots are now enjoying the same eased restrictions as the rest of Sydney as vaccination rates edge closer to the 70 per cent double dose milestone.

More than 82.2 per cent of eligible residents have received their first Covid-19 jab while 52.7 per cent are now fully vaccinated. 

Premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterated calls for NSW to not become complacent, despite declining daily infections, which fell below 1,000 for the first time in over a month.

The NSW government also announced a new $5 billion package aimed at helping build new and improved facilities and infrastructure in communities hardest hit by Covid. 

But it wasn’t all good news with the regional town of Cowra going into lockdown from 5pm Monday after a nine-year-old boy tested positive. He had attended while infectious. 

The Premier warned the number of hospitalisations and deaths will increase in the coming weeks, even as cases decline. 

‘That is why we need to continue to brace ourselves for October being the worst month for the number of people who pass away and the number of people who need intensive care,’ she said.

‘We should never lose sight of that, no matter what else is happening inner of the vaccination rate or anything else, that is the likely scenario in October so we can’t be complacent because we know that unfortunately given what Delta does, if we are too complacent too early things can get out of control and that is the last thing we want.’

Four deaths were reported, a day after NSW recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic with 13 deaths.

Two fatalities were unvaccinated while the other two had received their first dose.

They included two men aged in their sixties along with a man and woman aged in their 80s.

It takes the toll for the current NSW outbreak to 245, and the toll for the entirety of the pandemic to 301.

There are 1207 COVID-19 patients in hospital, with 236 in intensive care units and 123 on ventilators.

The state government also announced a new $5 billion package aimed at helping build new and improved facilities and infrastructure in communities hardest hit by Covid.

The WestInvest Fund aims to focus on projects that make a real difference to quality of life, help create jobs in the process, and change the face of Western Sydney and was announced on a day residents from worst-hit communities began to enjoy the same eased restrictions as the rest of Sydney.

The fund will allocate $3 billion for future projects such as upgrading parks, urban spaces and green space, sporting grounds, arts and cultural facilities and revitalising high streets; 

The remaining $2 billion will be reserved for high priority projects to be developed in consultation with local communities.

‘We want western Sydney to be the best place to live, to work, to play and this WestInvest fund will ensure this happens,’ NSW treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.

‘This isn’t just an investment in places, above all it is an investment in our people. We want Western Sydney to be the very best.’

Twelve local councils in the city’s west and south-west with the vast majority of NSW’s cases were for the past two months subjected to far more restrictions than the rest of the state.

Locals were locked inside their council area unless they were an authorised worker with a permit, subject to a 9pm to 5am curfew, only allowed out for one hour a day for exercise. 

For Monday, these restrictions will disappear and they will be under the same lockdown conditions as the rest of Sydney.

These include unlimited outdoor exercise and recreation, picnics outside for five vaccinated friends, and being able to go to weddings anywhere in Sydney. 

Only the permit system for authorised workers will continue.  

Outdoor pools across NSW will also reopen from September 27, in time for the second week of the school holidays, provided councils have a stringent Covid safety plan approved by NSW Health. Natural pools are already permitted to be open.

Ms Berejiklian felt more comfortable removing the east-west divide with a dramatic fall in new cases to just 1,083. 

However, the state also recorded 13 deaths, marking the deadliest day of the pandemic. 

Sydneysiders are urged to not be complacent as more restrictions were eased on Sunday (pictured woman enjoying the Sydney sunshine)

Sydneysiders are urged to not be complacent as more restrictions were eased on Sunday (pictured woman enjoying the Sydney sunshine)

Sydneysiders are urged to not be complacent as more restrictions were eased on Sunday (pictured woman enjoying the Sydney sunshine) 

The premier welcomed the signs the curve could be flattening but warned now wasn’t the time to be complacent.

‘There is not long to go, we’re talking weeks before we get about 70 per cent double dose and I don’t want anyone to let their guard down, this is not the time to kick back and it’s over,’ she said on Sunday.

‘Some areas are showing decline, but other areas are still growing, and it’s really important for us not to get complacent.

‘If we stay the course, if we stick to the rules, we will be able to really start opening up at 70 per cent in a safe way and ensure that all of us in NSW move forward together.’

Almost 80 per cent of eligible NSW residents have received their first Covid jab while 51.9 per cent now fully vaccinated and one step closer to Freedom Day when the state hits the 70 per cent double dose milestone. 

Fully vaccinated Sydneysiders caught up with friends for the first time in weeks with picnics in Centennial Park on Sunday

Fully vaccinated Sydneysiders caught up with friends for the first time in weeks with picnics in Centennial Park on Sunday

Fully vaccinated Sydneysiders caught up with friends for the first time in weeks with picnics in Centennial Park on Sunday

Eased restrictions in hotspot LGAs 

From 12.01am Monday (September 20), the following restrictions will ease for those who live in the listed LGAs of concern: Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and some suburbs of Penrith.

· No limit on the duration of outdoor exercise and recreation (previously a two-hour limit);

· Outdoor gatherings of up to five fully vaccinated people (not including children aged 12 and under) will be allowed in a person’s LGA or within 5km of home (previously only fully vaccinated household members could gather outdoors, or up to two fully vaccinated people from different households);

· Shopping, exercise and outdoor recreation can be done 5km from home or within your LGA (previously only 5km from home);

· Attend a small wedding (maximum 11 people) in Greater Sydney as a guest (previously only allowed in their LGA); and

· A person’s single’s bubble buddy can live in Greater Sydney (previously must have resided within 5km of a person’s home). A person from a LGA of concern can also now be a buddy for someone in Greater Sydney.

Authorised worker conditions and travel permit requirements remain in place in the LGAs of concern.

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NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned residents to not let their guard down, despite declining Covid cases

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned residents to not let their guard down, despite declining Covid cases

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned residents to not let their guard down, despite declining Covid cases

Nine of the 13 deaths recorded on Sunday weren’t vaccinated. 

Five were from western Sydney, two were from south western Sydney, two were from northern Sydney, two people were from Sydney’s inner city, one was from southern Sydney and one was from Dubbo in central-west NSW

The youngest, a man aged in his 40s was one of two fatalities who died at his home.

Two fatalities were aged in their 50s, another two in the 60s, five in their 70s, and three in their 80s.

Of the 1,238 with cases in hospital, 234 are in intensive care with more than half on a ventilator. 

When asked whether the state had reached or surpassed its ‘peak’ in case numbers, NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said he did not want to ‘jump the gun’.

‘Cases overall have been going up, they have stabilised and appear to be dropping in some areas where we have had rapidly increasing vaccination uptake as well as good compliance,’ he said.

‘But in other areas of the state, particularly in the Illawarra and the Central Coast we have seen inconsistency across the board.’

Source: Daily Mail UK

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