Fully jabbed Sydneysiders will have ‘at least one’ more freedom in September after NSW hit the target of six million Covid-19 vaccinations.
The state government is holding a ‘crisis cabinet’ meeting on Wednesday to discuss the extra freedom which was promised by Premier Gladys Berejiklian in early August.
Insiders say nail salons and hairdressers are possibly in line to open up and offer services where the customer and staff member are fully vaccinated.
Fully vaccinated Sydneysiders (pictured are residents queuing for a vaccine on Tuesday) will have ‘at least one’ more freedom in September, the premier has said
A year 12 student gets vaccinated at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. NSW has hit the target of 6million jabs
The extra freedom is expected to be announced on Thursday or Friday, Ms Berejiklian said.
‘I’m so pleased and grateful NSW has had six million jabs. Dr Chant and our team had conversations because we have hit the milestone and I look forward to making the announcement on Thursday or Friday this week as to what fully vaccinated people will be able to do from the month of September because of the target we have set,’ she said on Tuesday.
‘Thank you to everybody who has stepped up and got the jab. That equates to 60 per cent of our population across the state with at least one dose. And around 30 per cent of the population double dosed.’
The premier is also due to announce when schools will return, with students from kindergarten to year 2 and those in year 11 expected to be prioritised.
It comes after NSW recorded 753 new infections on Tuesday with a similarly high number expected on Wednesday.
People wait in line to receive their Covid-19 vaccine at the New South Wales health vaccination centre at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday
Hairdressers in NSW are waiting to see if they will be allowed to reopen to the vaccinated (pictured, a salon before the recent round of lockdowns)
The premier confirmed the plan to offer one extra freedom was in the works on Monday night during a TV interview blitz, her first since the outbreak started on June 16.
Political insiders have tipped the fully-vaccinated will finally be able to get a hair cut after months in lockdown, with the premier making similar suggestions during a radio interview.
‘I have never suggested that life will be free once we get to the six million jabs but what I have said, and will honour, is that if you are fully vaccinated, there will be at least one thing you can do that you cannot do now,’ Ms Berejiklian told A Current Affair on Monday.
‘We know that the harsh lockdowns in NSW are affecting every single citizen, so for us to be able to give them something they can do, which they couldn’t previously do, is an important opportunity.’
Sky News’ Andrew Clennell believes the ‘new freedom’ afforded to long-suffering NSW residents in September will be haircuts – as long as both client and staff are vaccinated
For weeks now Gladys Berejiklian has repeatedly promised that restrictions will be relaxed when the state completes six million Covid-19 vaccinations, but cafes will likely not be helped (pictured, a cafe in Rockdale, south Sydney, on Monday)
The premier did not specify what that extra freedom would be, but said the move is being made to give ‘people a bit of relief’ until we get to the 70 per cent double dose rate.
‘If you think about it, in the last week in NSW alone, three quarters of one million people in one week have come forward and had a vaccine, and that is outstanding,’ she said.
But despite the rapid progress NSW will not likely reach its inoculation goal until late October.
‘So the challenge for us is how can we live through September and October safely before we hit that 70 per cent vaccination rate. And that’s the challenge,’ the premier said.
In a KIIS FM radio interview last week, the premier said ‘personal care’ services such as hair salons and beauticians could be opened in September to people who are fully vaccinated and can prove it using the Medicare app.
She said Chief Health Officer Kerry Chat was ‘looking at things where both parties are vaccinated.’
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Sunday ministers are working ‘very, very closely’ on a plan to reopen schools (pictured) but said ‘we are not there yet’
‘Every state has different rules to lockdown, so there are some things in New South Wales you can’t do now that you are able to do to some extent in other states during lockdown,’ she added.
‘So, we’re looking at those things that might support wellbeing.’
When asked if that may include hairdressers, Ms Berejiklian replied: ‘Yeah, potentially.
‘I don’t want to give the game away but it would be, potentially, services which could be provided to people provided both parties are vaccinated.
‘Those kind of personal care services and what have you.
‘If we can do something safely and all parties are vaccinated then that gives us some options,’ she said.
However, she ruled out allowing allowing pubs to re-open as well gyms.
MOST IMPORTANT POINTS DURING GLADYS’ TV BLITZ
On Covid deaths:
7.30: ‘We do have to accept unfortunately that people will succumb.’
A Current Affair: ‘I don’t like to use this comparison but every year we lose between 600 to 800 people in NSW alone because of the flu.’
‘Unfortunately… we have to confront ourselves with the fact that that is what life will be like in NSW as horrible as it is.’
On endless lockdowns:
7.30: ‘It’s completely unrealistic, I don’t know any state or nation on the planet who abides by those rules, it’s just not possible. We can’t pretend we’re extra special and very different from other places.
‘To suggest that living with Delta means zero cases is completely unrealistic. It won’t happen anywhere else in the world.’
A Current Affair: ‘Other state premiers have chosen to close borders with few numbers, we can’t always control what other states do.
‘We asked them to consider all states will have to go through the challenge of transitioning to living with Covid.
‘We cannot be closed off from the rest of the world and we have to come to terms with it.’
On her leadership:
7.30: ‘There’s no perfect way of dealing with the pandemic and I’m very comfortable in being held accountable.’
A Current Affair: ‘None of us know exactly where the journey will take us as decision-makers. I wish we had 2020 hindsight… but I am very upfront about being held accountable’
A Current Affair: ‘We won’t have real freedom unless we hit 70 per cent double dose vaccination. In NSW, we are likely to have that at the end of October and an 80 per cent double dose vaccination, which gives us life before the outbreak, pretty much life as we knew it, in the middle of November.’
Under the Doherty Institute roadmap being worked on by ministers – which was partially leaked to The Australian last week – bars, restaurants and gyms will not be open until 70 per cent of the state is jabbed.
In a flurry of TV interviews on Monday night, the besieged state leader appeared on ABC’s 7.30 where she was grilled from Leigh Sales who asked how many daily deaths would be acceptable if lockdowns were to end and Covid left to run free.
Ms Berejiklian responded by saying that during a pandemic when you have an unvaccinated population, ‘unfortunately there is going to be a consequence.’
‘You have to be real about it. I wish there was an easy way to say we’re gonna have to zero cases and then somehow got to 100 per cent vaccination – but that’s just not the real world,’ she said.
The Premier said ‘personal care’ services such as hair salons and beauticians (pictured in Broadway, Sydney before lockdown) could be opened to the vaccinated
An empty pavement in the main street in the suburb of Merrylands is seen after Covid curfew on Monday (pictured), with thousands in the 12 hotspot LGAs living under the particularly brutal restrictio
‘We do have to accept unfortunately that people will succumb.’
She also told A Current Affair presenter Tracy Grimshaw that Australians need to confront the fact that ‘we are going to see case numbers go up’.
‘I don’t like to use this comparison but every year we lose between 600 to 800 people in NSW alone because of the flu,’ Ms Berejiklian warned.
‘Unfortunately… we have to confront ourselves with the fact that that is what life will be like in NSW as horrible as it is.’
Fired-up Scott Morrison slams rogue states who threaten to keep Covid-19 restrictions beyond 70% jab rate and says we must live with the virus
A fired-up Scott Morrison has slammed rogue states who are threatening to keep Covid-19 restrictions even after high vaccination rates are achieved as he declared ‘this Groundhog Day has to end’.
Queensland has joined Western Australia in threatening to maintain restrictions such as border closures even after 80 per cent of the population is vaccinated.
The move contradicts the re-opening plan, agreed by all premiers at National Cabinet, which says Australia will relax restrictions once 70 per cent are vaccinated and stop minimising cases once 80 per cent are jabbed.
The Prime Minister defended his plan – which is based on scientific modelling – in a press conference on Monday morning and said Australia must learn to live with Covid-19.
Sydney’s lockdown will last until at least October. Pictured: Sydney residents exercising on Monday
‘It does puzzle me – it puzzles me – why anyone would want to go against a plan that has been so carefully prepared,’ he said.
Referring to lockdowns in Melbourne and Sydney, he said: ‘This is not a sustainable way to live in this country, without those freedoms that we all cherish.’
And in a warning to overly cautious states, he said there is no alternative to opening up once vaccination rates are high.
‘Because if not at 70 per cent and 80 per cent, then when? Then when?
‘We have to deal with it. Otherwise we stay in the cave forever. That’s not a sustainable solution,’ he said.
‘I understand people will be concerned that cases may rise… the task is not to delay, the task is not to fear, the task is to embrace, prepare, plan, ensure that we are in a position to [open up].’
The Prime Minister said that once 70 per cent of Australians are vaccinated then lockdowns will do more harm than good.
‘There will be risk attached to [opening up], but there is also risk being stuck where we are. This Groundhog Day has to end,’ he said in reference to the 1993 film where the lead character gets stuck in a repeating 24-hour cycle.
Mr Morrison said Labor was deliberately undermining the re-opening plan for its own political purposes. Anthony Albanese on Sunday falsely said the plan could only go ahead if Covid-19 case numbers were low.
Anti-lockdown protesters take to the streets of Melbourne on Saturday, August 21
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles on Sunday said the state may keep its border closed to NSW if the southern state has high case numbers, regardless of vaccination rates.
‘We’re not going to get ahead of ourselves. We look to what’s happening in New South Wales every day and adjust our posture accordingly,’ Mr Miles said.
He falsely suggested the national plan was no longer valid because NSW was recording such high case numbers, with 830 on Sunday.
‘We’re signed up and committed to the plan that national cabinet endorsed but that was a plan that was endorsed before the New South Wales outbreak,’ he said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also said there would be ongoing restrictions after 80 per cent are jabbed, claiming ‘the goalposts have changed’.
Queensland has threatened to renege on the national re-opening plan. Pictured: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk
‘Our aim is always to suppress that virus but even 70 per cent and 80 per cent vaccination rates, as I have said and as is in the modelling as well, there will be some limited restrictions and some limited, or specified, lockdowns.’
The Prime Minster has been at pains to point out that the plan is not predicated on case numbers and can go ahead regardless of infection rates.
Victoria recorded 71 new cases on Monday, its highest total in the most recent outbreak, while NSW recorded 818 new infections.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has even vowed to turn off financial support for any state that goes rogue and keeps trying to eliminate Covid even after 80 per cent are jabbed.
Mr Morrison refused to say if that was a bluff, dismissing the scenario as ‘hypothetical’.
WA Premier Mark McGowan threatened to keep restrictions in place last week, telling Sky News: ‘Our preferred option is zero Covid obviously and that’s what we’ll attempt to do.
‘We don’t want to have deaths and we don’t want to have any spread of the virus.’