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NSW hits 90 per cent first dose milestone

NSW is among the highest COVID-19 vaccinated jurisdictions in the world as it reached another milestone with 90 per cent first dose coverage.

The achievement comes just days away from the state's re-opening on Monday following 15 weeks of lockdown in Greater Sydney.

NSW reported 580 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 and 11 deaths in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.

Premier Dominic Perrottet flagged this would likely cause an increase in positive cases and urged people to proceed safely.

"What has been key to keeping people safe is our high vaccination rate. We have the highest vaccination rate in the country," he said on Saturday.

Despite criticism from doctors the accelerated opening could strain medical resources, Mr Perrottet said the NSW roadmap was more conservative than the federal government had proposed.

"We believe that our conservative approach here ensures we keep people safe but importantly gets people back into work as quickly as possible."

"This journey is not over. There is a long way to go and we need to continue that focus."

As of Friday 90.1 per cent of people 16 and over had received their first vaccine dose, while 72.8 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said every increment above 90 per cent was "just going to be a bit harder," and challenged NSW to match the ACT record of 94 per cent first jabs.

She also waved away questions she was not involved in the changes to the state's roadmap saying she briefed the new premier for close to two hours.

"I respect the government's decisions around multiple inputs but I also note that some of the changes are clearly very low risk," she said.

There have now been 425 deaths since the coronavirus outbreak in June including three women and eight men in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 812 COVID-19 cases in hospital, with 163 in intensive care and 75 who require ventilation.

Dr Chant said vaccine availability had improved markedly in the last few weeks.

"It's important that if you have a delayed vaccination appointment, please try to reschedule it earlier or look for other options," she said.

She also confirmed authorities were still investigating the source of the new Delta strain identified on Friday with different genomic sequencing.

"We've linked that back to a person who returned overseas but the exact mechanism of how that new Delta strain emerged and got into the community in western Sydney is still under investigation," she said.

But there was no indication the new strain presents any differences regarding transmission, vaccine effectiveness or severity.

The state on Wednesday achieved 70 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage of those aged over 16, clearing the way for restrictions to ease as planned on Monday.

From Monday, a swathe of restrictions will lift for fully vaccinated people across the state.

Ten adult visitors will be allowed in homes, 30 people will be permitted to gather outdoors, and 100 guests can congregate at weddings and funerals.

Shops and hospitality venues can reopen and the five-kilometre from home travel limit will be scrapped.

But as the first Australian state to reach 70 per cent vaccination, NSW is also going to be the first to meet some challenges, the premier said.

The United Workers' Union, which represents many frontline and public-facing workers, is concerned members checking vaccination status could be put in unsafe situations.

Adding to their worry is that the integrated Service NSW vaccine certificate or passport app is not yet ready.

Meanwhile, the Australian Medical Association said changes to the state's plan to emerge from lockdown could overwhelm the hospital system and burn out healthcare workers.

© AAP 2021

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