First glimpse of the path to freedom

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant speaks to the media during a press conference to provide a COVID-19 update, in Sydney, Thursday, August 26, 2021. NSW recorded 1029 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 as the entire state continues in lockdown. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

Central Coast residents who have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be allowed to gather outdoors in groups of five (including children) from September 13, within the Local Government area or within 5km of home outside the LGA.

The prospect of easing restrictions was announced on August 26 as the first step of a roadmap for the future, after NSW hit its first vaccination target of six million jabs, with existing restrictions to remain in place for now.

Further freedoms for those who have had two doses of a vaccination will follow as the state hits vaccination targets of 70 and 80 per cent.

Once the state hits the 70 per cent mark, a range of family, industry, community and economic restrictions will be lifted for those who are vaccinated; and at 80 per cent full vaccination there will further easing of restrictions on industry, community and the economy.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, said while we would all love to see an end to lockdown in the region, health advice is that the risk remains too high.

“As we have seen in Sydney, Newcastle and Dubbo, two or three new cases per day can very quickly become 10 or 20,” Crouch said.

“The extension of the lockdown will give us a chance to identify any undetected cases in the Central Coast community.

“I believe that more must be done to restrict the mobility of authorised workers between Sydney and the Central Coast.

“I have raised this important issue with the Deputy Premier and thank him for being receptive to tightening the permit system.

“I also believe that face-to-face learning should be resumed as soon as it is COVID-safe.

“Today I will be writing to the Premier asking her to lobby the Federal Government to prioritise COVID-19 vaccines for school staff and teachers.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the roadmap is our path to freedom and our biggest incentive yet to get vaccinated so we can return to a level of normality.

Coasties can download their proof of COVID-19 vaccination via the Express Plus Medicare mobile app or their Medicare online account through myGov.

You can add your COVID-19 digital certificate to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay with instructions available on the Services Australia website.

If you can’t get proof online, your vaccination provider can print your immunisation history statement for you.

You can call the Australian Immunisation Register on 1800 653 809 (Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm) and ask for your statement to be sent to you; It can take up to 14 days to arrive in the post.

The news came as the Coast’s COVID case numbers reached 47 since the beginning of the current outbreak, with one previous notified case being reclassified.

On August 20, three more cases were announced; one linked to a previous case; one part of the Lake Munmorah Public School cluster; and the third not on the Central Coast while infectious with the source of infection under investigation.

On August 21 an additional case was announced; a household contact of a previously notified case who has been in isolation for the entire infectious period.

Two more tested positive on August 23; one linked to a previous case and one linked to a worksite in Sydney.

On August 24, three more were announced, all linked to previous identified cases; and on August 25 a case linked to a known case from Sydney was confirmed.

On August 26 two more cases were confirmed; one linked to a known case in Sydney and the second linked to a worksite in Sydney.

Several more exposure sites on the Coast have been listed.

They include the following train services: from Wyong to Strathfield between 4.37am and 6.14am on Friday, August 20, and from Strathfield to Wyong between 2pm and 3.54pm the same day; from Wyong to Strathfield between 3.50am and 5.30am on Saturday, August 21, and from Strathfield to Wyong between 2pm and 3.34pm the dame day.

Residents are urged to continue monitoring the Health NSW website for updated exposure sites.

Terry Collins