SYDNEY, AAP – COVID-19 continues to surge in NSW as the state clocks up another record, with 3057 new cases as requirements for international arrivals ease.
The new cases recorded in the 24 hours until 8pm on Monday is 556 more than the previous day’s 2501 cases.
There are 284 COVID-19 patients in hospital – up from 261 – and 39 people are in ICU – up from 33.
Two people died and 136,972 tests were carried out.
The vaccination rate remains the same with 94.9 per cent of people aged 16 and older having had one dose, while 93.4 per cent of people are fully jabbed.
Some 81.4 per cent of people aged 12-15 have had one dose of a vaccine and 78.1 per cent have had both doses.
From Tuesday fully vaccinated travellers will no longer have to isolate for 72 hours.
Overseas arrivals to Sydney will have to get a COVID-19 PCR test within 24 hours and isolate at home until they return a negative result.
Unvaccinated adult travellers are still required to complete 14 days of hotel quarantine.
The new rules are in line with Victoria but international travellers in NSW must also undergo another test on the sixth day after arriving.
International flight crew members who arrive in Australia and are fully vaccinated must self-isolate until they have a negative COVID-19 test result, or until they depart on a flight leaving Australia.
NSW Health is urging people to keep wearing masks indoors and health experts are calling for a return to mask mandates indoors, as nervous people cancel or reconsider summer holiday travel plans.
But a week after mask requirements were removed for all but the highest risk settings, Premier Dominic Perrottet says it’s time for “personal responsibility”.
“We are treating the people of our state like adults,” he said on Monday.
Meanwhile, there are long queues at testing facilities as people seek reassurance they won’t have to go into isolation for Christmas and pharmacies and shops are running out of Rapid Antigen Tests.
National President of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia Trent Twomey says there are sufficient supplies in Australia but they need to be distributed to where demand is greatest.
“They are all at their major distribution hubs which are down in Victoria,” he told the Nine Network on Tuesday.
Pharmacies would get more deliveries by Wednesday.
“They assure us over the next 24 hours there will be trucks and ships and trains and all sorts of things getting that stock out of major distribution hubs in Melbourne out to the rest of the states and territories,” he said.
Meanwhile, Newcastle remains the epicentre of the COVID-19 Omicron cluster with more than a quarter – 660 – of the cases recorded on Sunday in the Hunter, and there are 4368 active cases in the district.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant is urging caution this Christmas and recommended people take a rapid antigen test before going to an indoor gathering.
“Choose outdoor, well-ventilated places for gatherings and limit the size of those gatherings,” she said.