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COVID-19 figures dip again in HNELHD after 51 new cases

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The Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD) has experienced another dip in figures, with 51 new COVID-19 cases recorded overnight.

It takes the total number in the latest outbreak to 2,125, with 1.121 currently active.

The Newcastle LGA accounted for 11 infections at Merewether, Jesmond, Mayfield, Elermore Vale, New Lambton Heights, Newcastle and Wallsend, with 10 also in the Cessnock LGA (Cessnock, Bellbird, Paxton and Quorrobolong).

The Lake Macquarie LGA welcomed a drop to eight at Macquarie Hills, Barnsley, Cardiff Heights, Edgeworth, Valentine and Marks Point.

Seven cases were detected in the Port Stephens LGA at Raymond Terrace, Karuah, Lemon Tree Passage, Swan Bay and Raymond Terrace East, while six were discovered in the Maitland LGA (East Maitland, Morpeth, Metford, Gillieston Heights and Maitland).

Muswellbrook was home to just one.

The Tamworth and Mid Coast LGAs claimed six and two respectively.

Thirty-four infections in the HNELHD are linked, 21 were virulent in the community and eight are still under investigation

Twenty-six of the total active cases are currently being cared for in hospital, with four in ICU.

Meanwhile, NSW registered 319 locally-acquired infections in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday 15 October.

It’s the state’s lowest daily number of cases in more than two months.

However, NSW Health reported the deaths of two people.

A man in his 60s from Sydney’s inner west died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

He had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

A woman in her 90s from south-eastern Sydney died at St George Hospital.

She was not vaccinated.

The falling figures come five days after the state eased restrictions for the fully-vaccinated. 

NSW is rapidly approaching the next stage of reopening as it looks set to hit 80% double-jabbed mark as early as Saturday.

According to the latest figures, 78.8% of NSW residents over 16 are fully-vaccinated.

Some 91.7% have had at least one dose.  

If the 80% target is reached on Saturday or Sunday, NSW will progress to the next phase of its reopening roadmap on Monday.

That will mean the return of community sport, the removal of caps on weddings and funerals, and the return of dancing to hospitality venues.

But, Sydneysiders wishing to travel to the regions will have to wait a little longer, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet announced on Friday.

That freedom has been delayed to 1 November, to give those in the regions time to get their second dose.

That date will also see the state walk away from hotel quarantine and isolation requirements for fully-vaccinated international arrivals.  

The move was heralded as a “massive step towards life as we knew it” by Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

In response, the airline has brought forward the restart of its international flights by two weeks.

Tickets from London and Los Angeles to Sydney are now on sale.

Flights from other destinations, like Singapore, Fiji and Vancouver, may also become available earlier than expected, the airline said on Friday.

“We have thousands of our pilots and cabin crew wanting to get back to work and they will be thrilled,” Mr Joyce said.

“It will still be a long time before international travel returns to normal but this is a fantastic start.”

Singapore Airlines will open bookings for 17 weekly flights between Singapore and Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

The carrier has been operating just one flight a day on the route due to quarantine caps. 

Singapore Airlines regional vice-president South West Pacific, Louis Arul, welcomed the news but said the company wants clarity on how they can facilitate unvaccinated passengers.

If you need to get tested for coronavirus there are more than 410 clinics open across NSW.

For a complete list and booking details, visit: health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/clinics.aspx

For our latest COVID-19 news, click here.

  • With AAP

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