COVID: New Delta strain, booster shots to come, hospitalisations will increase

Susanna Freymark

NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant said a new Delta strain was brought into Australia by an overseas visitor who flew into the country in September.

“The genome we detected is different,” Dr Chant said.

“We don’t believe this new strain is any more transmissible (than the current Delta strain).”

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation has recommended a third dose of the covid vaccine for those who are immune comprised.

Pfizer or Moderna were recommended for this third dose within a two-six-month period.

We are looking at booster doses for health care workers and the elderly, Dr Chant said.

NSW has reached 70%  double dose vaccination and close to 90% first dose.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said hospitalisations will increase when the state opens up on Monday, October 11.

“It’s a natural part of the opening up,” Mr Perrottet said.

He said he wanted all teachers vaccinated.

The opening up of the state would be difficult on business, he said.

“They will need signs and training.

He asked the public to be respectful when going to pubs and the shops and to follow the rules at theses premises.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said the regions with increasing covid case numbers shouldn’t rule out further restrictions and lockdowns.

Workers in regional areas who have received one vaccination dose will be permitted to return to their workplace from Monday and will be given a grace period until November 1 to receive their second dose.

Rules for opening on Monday are:
• Up to 10 fully vaccinated visitors (not counting children 12 and under) to a home (previously five)
• Up to 30 fully vaccinated people will be able to attend outdoor gatherings (previously 20)
• Increasing the cap for weddings and funerals to 100 people (previously 50).
• Indoor pools will also be re-opened for swimming lessons, squad training, lap swimming, and rehab activities
On the Monday after the State clears the 80 per cent double vaccination hurdle further restrictions will be relaxed:
• Up to 20 visitors (excluding children 12 and under) to a home (previously 10)
• Up to 50 people will be allowed to gather outdoors (previously 20)
• Up to 3,000 people will be allowed to attend controlled and ticketed outdoor events (previously 500)
• Nightclubs will be permitted to reopen for seated drinking only (no dancing), and masks will no longer be required in office buildings
All roadmap freedoms will continue to be for fully vaccinated people only.
Unvaccinated people can only be in groups of two.

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