NSW students will return to schools one week ahead of schedule after the state exceeded expectations for vaccination take-up.

On Wednesday evening NSW‘s crisis cabinet agreed that school returns would start on October 18 for kindergarten, year 1 and year 12 students as part of a three-week re-entry.

Other grades will return to face-to-face learning on October 25 and November 1.

It comes after Premier Gladys Berejiklian earlier on Wednesday said the original plan for students to go back from October 25 was under review because of how quickly NSW was tracking towards 70 per cent double-vaccination coverage.

Some 863 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed across the state in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, and a record 15 deaths.

Visits to aged care homes will also be allowed from October 11 with two fully vaccinated people able to visit a resident per day.

While other restrictions are due to lift on October 11, NSW Police has indicated it won’t be policing vaccination passports.


But the premier denied that meant no one would be enforcing the restrictions, arguing there were incentives for individuals and businesses to do the right thing.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns said businesses were still confused about their obligations once lockdown is lifted.

The federal government announced that billions of dollars in federal assistance would be phased out over two weeks once the state reaches 80 per cent double dose vaccination.

Ms Berejiklian indicated NSW may soon follow suit.

“I suspect we will have a much more targeted approach.”

It comes as the deadline looms for health workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 with at least one dose.


Mr Hazzard said 97.5 per cent of the NSW Health workforce would be vaccinated by Thursday.

Excluding those who have medical exemption, those remaining will likely be unable to work.

“If you don’t care enough to get vaccinated and look after your colleagues, if you don’t care enough to look after your patients, then you probably shouldn’t be in the health system,” he said.

Meanwhile, Oberon has been placed into lockdown for one week due to an increased risk of COVID-19 transmissions.

The stay-at-home order applies to anyone who has been in the Oberon LGA from September 20.


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