NSW records 1,022 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths as ‘friends bubble’ for under 18s announced

Play dates are back on in NSW with children under 18 allowed to form a “friends bubble” after the state recorded 1,022 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths.A snap seven-day lockdown has also been announced for the Tweed, Byron Bay and Kempsey local government areas (LGAs) beginning from 5:00pm this afternoon.The announcement comes after an authorised worker from Sydney spent spent several days in the area and later tested positive.NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the worker, who had travelled to the state’s north, had had a rapid antigen test before they left which was negative.A PCR test later showed up positive.Follow along with the latest COVID-19 news in our live blogMr Hazzard encouraged everybody in those areas “to take this very seriously”.”I would encourage people in the Tweed in Byron Bay and associated areas and Kempsey to go and get double vaccinations as soon as you humanly can,” he said. The government has also announced a young people’s “friends bubble” will be begin today.Under the rules, a group of three friends under the age of 18 will be able to visit each other at home as long as they live within 5 kilometres and in the same LGA.”Young people themselves, families generally have been obviously finding it challenging that young people have not been able to have their friends over,” Mr Hazzard said.How quickly is COVID spreading in your postcode?See where infections are rising fastest and how your neighbourhood compares.Read more”And we know that mental health is a huge issue in these ongoing and certainly dragging-on pandemic.”The announcement comes on the second day of the school holidays.The “friends bubble” will only be permitted in households where all adults are double-vaccinated.”That’s a critical issue,” the Health Minister said.  There were 10 COVID-related deaths announced, eight men and two women.One person was in their 50s, one person was in their 60s, two people were in their 70s, five people were in their 80s and one person was in their 90s. Seven of the 10 were from south-west and Western Sydney.The latest vaccination data shows that 82.5 per cent of eligible adults in NSW have received one dose and 53 per cent are fully vaccinated.The NSW Advocate for Children and Young People, Zoe Robinson, spoke about the impact of the lockdown on young people.” I want to acknowledge the 2.5 million children and young people in New South Wales who are uniquely experiencing this pandemic.” She said the “friends bubble” was a  direct result of feedback from young people.”They want to see their friends,” she said.”This gives them an opportunity to connect, to care for each other, to see each other in ways they’ve been unable to do.”What you need to know about coronavirus:Year 9 student Alyssa Horan spoke about the isolation students had felt during home schooling. “Children and young people at the moment want to do the right thing but we also want to stay connected,” she said.”Being able to socialise whilst also abide by the new rules through the friendship travel bubble will definitely help us all greatly at the moment.”A positive case has also been detected in Tamworth in the state’s north-east.NSW deputy chief health officer Marianne Gale said health authorities were looking at whether the person concerned had been out and about and whether renewed stay-at-home orders would be required to protect the community. Mr Hazzard said he was confident the federal government was “doing its best” but there were questions marks over vaccine supplies.But he said he had received assurances that there would be sufficient doses for people in NSW to get their second jab by October.”It’s not rocket science,” he said.”There has to be a degree of uncertainty when you have got supplies coming in from around the world.” Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 5 minutes 18 seconds5m Families and kids share their lives in lockdownLoading form…

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