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NSW reports 9,243 cases as restrictions ease | Blue Mountains Gazette

NSW has reported 9,243 new cases and 15 deaths as a number of restrictions are eased.

Hospitalizations fell again to 1,381 and while ICU admissions remained stable, with 92 people in intensive care.

Some 46.1% of children of primary school age received their first dose of vaccine, while 78.9% of children aged 12-15 received two doses.

Research published on Friday indicates that NSW has been able to safely bring children back to classrooms.

The National Immunization Research and Monitoring Center has been tracking coronavirus transmission in schools in collaboration with the University of Sydney, NSW Health and the Department of Education.

The study was led by Dr Archana Koirala, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Sydney, who says there has not been a dramatic increase in transmission in school settings despite high numbers of exhibitions during the last quarter of last year.

“Our results confirm that vaccination of students and teachers along with other mitigation measures in schools and the wider community can keep transmission low in educational settings,” says Dr Koirala .

The data predates the peak of the Omicron outbreak.

Meanwhile, the teachers’ union has called on the government to continue providing free rapid antigen tests to students and teachers for at least another six weeks.

Parents reported 12,000 positive RATs in the week beginning February 7.

More than 90% of parents use test kits provided by their schools, according to a recent survey of more than 80,000 parents.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said “the comprehensive RAT program has helped school staff and students feel more confident about returning to the school grounds.”

The programme, which is due to be reviewed after the fourth week of term, was recently extended for a further six weeks in Victoria and a further four weeks in the ACT.

The testing regime continues to be “essential”, the Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT said.

Business groups hailed the early easing of restrictions across NSW, saying it was “tumultuous” trade under COVID-19 rules.

Dancing and singing return to New South Wales on Friday as a number of restrictions are rolled back earlier than expected across the state in time for the weekend.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said it has been “a very difficult two years here in our state”.

“A lot of people have made huge sacrifices, but the efforts that have been made … have allowed us to see downward pressure on our hospital system,” he said Thursday.

Singing and dancing are allowed to resume in most settings, the two-metre density limit for indoor venues has been removed and QR check-ins are now only required for nightclubs and music festivals with more of 1000 revelers.

The requirement to wear face masks will also end in most settings next Friday.

Business NSW chief executive Daniel Hunter said it meant businesses could now “plan their future”.

Workers will return to offices and revitalize city centers, “supporting small businesses that have been on their knees.”

Australian Associated Press