The state recorded its deadliest day since the pandemic began with 30,062 cases and 16 deaths on Sunday, up from a previous tally of 15 deaths on two days on September 29 and September 30.
The number of new infections is expected to be likely far higher than reported as the results of rapid antigen tests are not included in the final tally.
Sunday’s numbers come as the state government reintroduced a raft of new rules that will remain in place for three weeks in an attempt to curb spiralling cases.
Essential workers in the food logistics, manufacturing, transport, postal and warehousing industries will be allowed to leave their close contact isolation if they don’t have any Covid symptoms.
Workers will only be eligible to leave if their employee decides their absence from work poses a high-risk of disruption to the delivery of critical services or activities.
NSW Health announced the changes after Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant signed off on the new rules, hoped to alleviate pressure on the state’s supply chains.
Premier Dominic Perrottet explained employees must return a negative rapid antigen test before returning to work and undergo daily testing during an update on Sunday.
‘Those orders were signed off this morning and we believe it will ease the pressure on supply and distribution networks, particularly for those essential areas across our state as we move through the next few weeks,’ the premier said.
According to a statement from the NSW Government, workers exempt from the isolation period must fit a certain criteria and follow Covid-safe practices.
Workers must be unable to work from home, wear a mask and comply with risk-management strategies put in place by their employer, including the use of rapid antigen tests.
Video: Over 300 SA Health workers contract COVID-19 (Sky News Australia)
Any worker who leaves isolation and later tests positive for the virus must return to self-quarantine. Emergency services workers are also exempt from isolation rules.
According to the state government, the decision was made to ensure the state has access to essential goods, amid widespread shortages that have taken a direct hit on the supply chain with products unable to be delivered on time.
Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres reiterated that no workers who were positive for the virus would be sent back to work.
‘And that’s about shoring up our food distribution, food manufacturing supply chains, to make sure that all of those things that we see in our supermarkets and across the general economy can continue to function,’ he told reporters.
Mr Perrottet announced the state has purchased an additional 50 million rapid antigen tests on top of the 50 million already on their way.
He said the vital tests would be rolled out across NSW, ‘particularly in those areas where there are vulnerable people’.
The self-test kits would be crucial to return students to school at the end of this month with back-to-school plans currently being finalised.
‘This will be a core part of the plans getting kids back in the classrooms. We are completely committed to doing that,’ the premier said.
‘That is exactly the focus of the NSW Government. It is crucial that kids are back into school on day one and that is our focus and we’ll be raising those plans with the Federal Government at National Cabinet later this week.
‘And we will, once we’ve finalised those plans, we will release them to the public so that parents right across the state can have confidence that they’ve been able to ensure that kids are back on day one.’
More to come.
Source: Thanks msn.com