Kerry Chant: NSW Covid chief is a no show at Dom Perrottet’s hotel quarantine announcement

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant was noticeably absent from the press conference where Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the state would pass the significant 80 per cent full vaccination target and was scrapping hotel quarantine.

Dr Chant has been the face of the pandemic response in NSW but on Friday, as Mr Perrottet announced the end of hotel quarantine and the lifting of a number of other Covid restrictions in the state, she was absent.

Instead, Dr Chant presented a Covid update online through NSW Health’s social channels while Susan Pearce, a NSW Health Deputy Secretary, fronted the media alongside Mr Perrottet.

Mr Perrottet was asked why Dr Chant wasn’t present as he made the announcement of reopening the state despite the potential risks posed by a new Covid strain.

‘From time to time, I’ll make decisions in relation to the messages that I believe the public need to hear on different days with different announcements,’ he responded. 

‘Today I thought it was very important that Susan Pearce … provide information about vaccinations and driving the vaccination rates across, particularly regional New South Wales, but right across the state because there is a long journey to go.

‘It’s about providing from my perspective the message of the day.’

‘Based on different announcements on different days I’ll have different ministers and members of the departments who we think will be able to provide the clear messages the government wants to convey at any point in time.’

Dr Chant had become the face of the pandemic response in NSW but on Friday, as Mr Perrottet announced the end of hotel quarantine and the lifting of a number of other Covid restrictions in the state, she was absent

'Hotel quarantine is a thing of the past. We are opening Sydney and New South Wales to the world, and that date will come in on November 1st,' NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Friday

‘Hotel quarantine is a thing of the past. We are opening Sydney and New South Wales to the world, and that date will come in on November 1st,’ NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Friday

NSW is quickly closing in on its 80 per cent of adults double vaccinated target as the state reports 399 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday

NSW is quickly closing in on its 80 per cent of adults double vaccinated target as the state reports 399 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday

Some 77.4 per cent of adults have now received two doses of the vaccine with 80 per cent expected to be double-jabbed by Saturday

Some 77.4 per cent of adults have now received two doses of the vaccine with 80 per cent expected to be double-jabbed by Saturday

Dr Chant presented a straightforward Covid update direct to camera online that detailed 399 new Covid-19 cases in the state, including four deaths. She did not mention the easing of restrictions as the state approached 80 per cent of people double dosed.  

‘While it is pleasing to see our vaccination rates have really increased, we need to strive for the protection of all, so a big ask to the community, please reach out and check your friends and family and see if any of them need help making a booking for vaccination, or need help getting there,’ she said. 

There has been ongoing speculation that Dr Chant has disagreed with the speed at which Mr Perrottet has moved to remove Covid-19 restrictions and reopen up the state. 

Mr Perrottet announced hotel quarantine will be scrapped in the state in two weeks, there will be no need for vaccinated travellers to isolate at home and new freedoms will be restored on Monday. 

‘As of Monday, home visitations will increase from 10 to 20. Outdoor gatherings from 30 to 50. Standing up in pubs will be back. They will be no limits on weddings and funerals,’ Mr Perrottet said. 

The 20-person cap on bookings at restaurants and other hospitality venues would also be scrapped from November 1. 

‘We have only been able to do this because of the significant effort of the people across New South Wales have made in getting us to this point.’  

Travel from Sydney to regional NSW remains deferred until November 1, when it’s expected regional parts of the state will catch up to Sydney’s rate. 

Mr Perrotett also announced hotel quarantine would end in NSW from the beginning of November.   

‘Hotel quarantine is a thing of the past. We are opening Sydney and New South Wales to the world, and that date will come in on November 1st,’ he said. 

‘We will work closely with the Commonwealth to ensure protections are in place so we keep people safe but rejoin the world.

‘This is a significant day for our state.’  

Deputy Liberal leader Stuart Ayres said fully vaccinated people would be able to return to Australia and go to their homes without the need to quarantine. 

‘That is not hotel quarantine, that is not home quarantine, you will be able to return home. If you are a person from another country who wants to visit or work in Australia, and you are fully vaccinated, you will be able to come to Australia and not have to quarantine,’ Mr Ayres said.

‘For those who are fully vaccinated, New South Wales says we welcome home every Australian overseas, we want tourism back, we want people back into work, we want to get our economy moving,’ Mr Perrottet said.  

The premier said ensuring people entering the state from overseas were fully vaccinated would be done in conjunction with the Commonwealth.

‘Nobody fully vaccinated will be able to come into Australia unless that evidence been clearly provided to Commonwealth authorities,’ he said. 

‘The Commonwealth government will be running that aspect of this program, but there is no reason as to why people right across the world who are fully vaccinated should need to hotel quarantine or home quarantine for two weeks.’ 

‘People won’t be able to fly to Australia unless they conduct a PCR test before departure and have a TGA-recognised vaccine and that vaccine status has been verified by the Commonwealth,’ Mr Ayres said.  

Unvaccinated people will still be required to hotel quarantine. 

‘People coming into New South Wales, if they are transiting on to another state, they’ll have to abide by restrictions in that state so if that state requires quarantining people coming from New South Wales, they will still have to abide by that,’ Mr Ayres clarified. 

‘This will create a chance for people to come to NSW through Sydney and will also present a huge opportunity for Australians who haven’t been able to access flights because of the caps that we put in place to protect our local health systems, that have kept us safe through the bulk of this pandemic, to really allow us to protect the community.   

Extra support for businesses in regional New South affected by the delay in opening up the rest of the state would be provided, Mr Perrottet announced.

‘The Job Centre payment which we are tapering off – we will extend that for regional New South Wales at 30 per cent of payroll until November 1,’ he said.  

Some 77.4 per cent of adults have now received two doses of the vaccine with 80 per cent expected to be double-jabbed by Saturday. More restrictions are then set to be eased on Monday. 

Among the changes include increasing the number of visitors allowed into a home, raising the cap on spectators allowed at major events and reopening nightclubs. 

Regional travel, which was expected to restart once the milestone was hit, has now been delayed until November 1.

Deputy premier Paul Toole explained the decision was prompted by low vaccination rates in country towns. 

‘I know it’s frustrating,’ he told 2GB on Friday. ‘I know it’s a very difficult time because I know that people are wanting to pack their bags.’

‘They’re wanting to go to regional NSW, they want to go on a holiday, they want to go and catch up with family and their loved ones.’ 

‘I know it’s not an easy decision that’s been made. We have a responsibility here to make sure we keep our regional community safe.’  

Residents will be allowed to invite up to 20 guests to their homes while small outdoor gatherings will be increased to 50 people. 

Major recreation facilities will be allowed to host 5,000 spectators while entertainment facilities can return to 75 per cent capacity.

Weddings and funerals will no longer have a cap on the number of guests allowed to attend the events. 

The eased restrictions will come after NSW quietly launched the vaccine passport overnight.

For those who have received both jabs and have the updated Service NSW app on their phones, their vaccine status will pop up when they check into a venue using the standard QR code process.

Sydneysiders earlier had to scroll through their Medicare app or carry a paper certificate to prove to staff they’d been jabbed but now a green tick will appear whenever they sign into a business.

Regional travel, which was expected to restart once the milestone was hit, has now been delayed until November 1

Regional travel, which was expected to restart once the milestone was hit, has now been delayed until November 1

NSW is quickly closing in on its 80 per cent of adults double vaccinated target as the state reports 399 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday

NSW is quickly closing in on its 80 per cent of adults double vaccinated target as the state reports 399 new cases of Covid-19 on Friday

For those wanting to take advantage of the new ‘VaxPass’ they will need to ensure their MyGov account account has been linked to Medicare.

Then either through the online MyGov site or the Express Plus Medicare app users are instructed to click ‘Proof of vaccinations’ and then ‘View history’.

They will then be given the option to choose their Covid vaccine digital certificate and link this with the Service NSW app.

Customer Service minister Victor Dominello tweeted a photo of his vaccine passport while checking into a cafe on Friday morning.

The system had earlier attracted criticism for not being ready when Sydney was finally freed from its gruelling four-month lockdown on Monday.

With the launch overnight, the vaccine passport was up and running three days earlier than Mr Dominello had planned, making it a whole lot easier for pub goers heading out for Friday night drinks.

Several security measures will be in place including a hologram of the NSW Waratah logo to help businesses ensure their customers are complying with the rules. 

Trials of the app had been carried out in clubs and aged care facilities in Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga and Lismore.  

Freedoms at 80 per cent jab rate 

Masks and QR codes:

Masks required for all staff and customers in all indoor settings including on public transport, planes and in airports (except children under the age of 12).

Masks no longer required in office buildings (unvaccinated people must still wear a mask in the office).

Masks no longer required in outdoor settings (except for front-of-house hospitality staff).

COVID Safe check-ins and proof of vaccination required for staff and customers.

Visiting family and friends:

Up to 20 visitors allowed in your home at any one time (visitor limits do not apply for children under the age of 12).

Small outdoor gatherings and recreation permitted for up to 50 people (2-person limit for people not fully vaccinated).

Visitors to residents in aged care facilities and disability homes permitted in line with their policies.

Exercise and recreation:

Gyms, indoor recreation and sporting facilities open with density limits and up to 20 people in classes.

No distance limits apply for exercise or recreation.

Indoor swimming pools open for swimming lessons, training and rehab activities.

Community sports permitted for fully vaccinated staff, spectators and participants.

Shopping and personal services: 

Non-critical retail open with density limits (people who are not fully vaccinated can only access non-critical retail via Click & Collect).

No customer limit for personal services (including hairdressers, spas, beauty and nail salons, tattoo and massage parlours), density limits apply.

Sex services premises reopen.

Restaurants and hospitality: 

Hospitality open with density limit for up to 20 people per booking (takeaway only for people who are not fully vaccinated).

No singing indoors (except for performers).

Dancing is permitted indoors and outdoors (except at nightclubs).

Drinking indoors and outdoors may be seated or standing.

Working from home:

Employers allow staff to continue to work from home, if reasonably practicable.

Employers require staff who are not fully vaccinated to work from home, if reasonably practicable.

Events and entertainment:

Major recreation facilities (including stadiums, theme parks, and race courses) open with density limits for up to 5000 people, or by exemption.

Entertainment facilities (including cinemas and theatres) reopen with density limit or 75% fixed seated capacity.

Information and education facilities (including art galleries, museums and libraries) reopen with density limits.

COVID safe outdoor gatherings permitted for up to 200 people.

Controlled outdoor public gatherings (for example – fenced, seated ticketed) permitted for up to 3000 people with density limit.

Nightclubs and strip clubs reopen with seated drinking and no dancing.

Weddings and religious services:

Wedding ceremonies permitted with no person limit (5-person limit for people who are not fully vaccinated), density limit still applies.

Wedding receptions permitted with no person limits (not permitted for people who are not fully vaccinated), eating and drinking while standing, and dancing is permitted, density limit still apply.

Funerals permitted with no person limit (10-person limit for people who are not fully vaccinated) and eating and drinking allowed while standing, density limits still apply.

Places of worship reopen for people who are not fully vaccinated with density limits.

Up to 10 fully vaccinated singers may perform in places of worship and at religious services.    

Source: NSW Government   

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