NSW records 20,148 new Covid-19 cases, 30 deaths

Holly Hales and Ryan YoungNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet insists he won’t delay the return of school after doctors warned it would be impossible to vaccinate every child aged 5-11 before students go back to classrooms.

General practitioners only able to access 200 childhood vaccines a fortnight have warned high demand for jabs is quickly outstripping supply at GP practices across Australia and some deliveries are not arriving, The Daily Telegraph reports.

PREMIER PRESSER
Camera IconNSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is standing firm in his commitment to reopen schools on time. NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper Credit: News Corp Australia

Responding to GP concerns and a push from some parents to delay the return of school, Mr Perrottet said Covid was less severe in children and vaccine bookings were available in NSW Health vaccination hubs.

“Most parents will want to take their child to receive a vaccination at a GP or a pharmacist but our centres are there to provide that extra assistance and there are bookings available,” he said.

“We also know Covid is less severe in young children and this strain of the virus is highly transmissible, but much less severe.

“There’s no doubt there are going to be challenges as we open schools, (but) the alternative is to keep schools closed. That’s not what we are doing here in our state … when we have many young children who have lost a quarter of their schooling, that will have a significant impact on their educational outcomes.”

Mr Perrottet said the NSW and Victorian Governments had been working on return to school plans for the past three weeks, with a final plan expected to be unveiled next week.

Kids Vax
Camera IconChristian McArthur, 9, getting his first Pfizer vaccination with nurse Charmaine Chia. Tara Croser Credit: News Corp Australia

NSW Health Deputy Secretary Susan Pearce said parents unable to find vaccine appointments should continue to look around for other options.

“Some of our clinics are booked out for a couple of weeks in advance but others aren’t,” she said.

“Very pleasingly, compared to where we were last year with the vaccine Hunger Games with supply, we are not in that position now.

“While I appreciate that parents would probably want to perhaps go to their GP or someone familiar to them, particularly for their 5 to 11-year-old … if you can’t get a booking right away, please look around. There are literally thousands of access points for vaccines.”

Her comments came as New South Wales recorded 20,148 new cases and 30 Covid deaths in the past 24 hours.

There are now 2762 infected people in hospitals across the state, with 204 in intensive care.

Almost 94 per cent of eligible population are fully vaccinated.

Of the 8566 positive RAT results, 7687 of these positive tests were from the previous seven days.

It comes after retailers caught inflating the prices of Covid-19 rapid antigen tests risk substantial fines or prison time as the nationwide shortage of the kits continues.

The Australian Federal Police has begun investigating RAT price gouging, warning individuals and businesses they could face up to 5 years’ imprisonment or a $66,000 financial penalty.

COVID BRISBANE
Camera IconRapid antigen tests have sold out in most places across the country due to the Omicron surge. NewsWire / Sarah Marshall Credit: News Corp Australia

The AFP announced the probe on Friday morning, saying it had the power to investigate when a retailer or individual buys RATs from another retailer and resells them with a mark-up of more than 20 per cent.

“For example, if a tobacconist buys RATs from a chemist and then sells those RATs for more than 20 per cent of what they were purchased for, that tobacconist faces criminal charges under the law,” the AFP said in a statement.

It does not apply to retailers who buy from a wholesaler.

AFP crime command Assistant Commissioner Nigel Ryan said there would be “zero tolerance” for those who were profiteering from RATs.

“The AFP will use its full powers to crack down on RAT price gouging,” he said.

“Not only is price gouging of RATs unethical but it is illegal, and the AFP will use its significant resources to ensure it protects the public from the unlawful greed of others.”

Originally published as NSW records 20,148 new Covid-19 cases, 30 deaths

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