Sun. Aug 14th, 2022

The New South Wales Chief Health Officer says a new wave of COVID-19 has hit the state which has been sparked by the latest Omicron variants.

Dr Kerry Chant said case numbers and hospitalizations are expected to peak in late July and early August.

“We predict hospitalizations will be similar to BA.1 in January,” she said.

COVID-19 cases are rising in NSW again due to the latest Omicron variants. (Louise Kennerley, 9News)

“There’s lots of other viruses like flu and RSV, that’s a difference to what occurred in January.”

Chant said she is “concerned about this picture”.

Renewed call for NSW residents to get vaccinated

Chant and the state’s Health Minister Brad Hazzard have urged NSW residents to get vaccinated and take more precautions against the virus as case numbers surge again.

“BA.4 and BA.5 are increasing in the proportion of people getting COVID-19,” Hazzard said.

“There is no playbook when you’re in a pandemic, we’re learning as we go, what we do know now is getting fully vaccinated whatever number of vaccinations you’re eligible to get does make a difference.”

“These pesky little variants are quite intelligent and working their way around the current vaccines to a certain extent.

“What we do know is if we are fully vaccinated we are far less likely to fall ill and far less likely to die.”

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard called anyone who has not a third dose ‘crazy’. (Nine)

Hazzard added that although vaccines do not stop transmission, they do prevent severe illness or death.

“If you haven’t had your full three (doses), to put it bluntly, you’re crazy (and) you should go and get them,” he said.

No further restrictions as case numbers rise

NSW authorities will not be introducing any further restrictions to combat the rise in case numbers but have urged residents to wear masks more frequently and wash their hands.

Currently, the only restriction in place in the state is mandatory mask-wearing on public transport.

As many Sydneysiders will recognize, not many commuters are wearing masks anymore on trains or buses despite the mandate.

Hazzard was asked whether the government would have more police to enforce mask-wearing on trains. He said no.

face mask nsw restrictions easing sydney
NSW residents are urged to mask up more frequently. (Getty)

“It is mandatory to wear masks on public transport, the police have done an extraordinary job during the pandemic,” he said.

“The message we’re focusing on today is each of us needs to take responsibility if you’re traveling on public transport comply with the law.”

Health minister says fourth dose eligibility should be expanded

Hazzard said if there is no issue with vaccine supply the eligibility for a fourth dose of the vaccine should be expanded.

“Every extra dose helps, so if we can get a fourth dose let’s do it,” he said.

“I’d like to see the rules changed as quickly as possible to allow for a fourth dose to be allowed for a much greater age bracket.”

It comes as the Therapeutic Goods Administration considers an application from Moderna for a new booster shot that targets the B.4 Omicron variant.

US regulators have already agreed to roll out the variant-specific booster later this year.

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