NSW records 286 COVID-19 cases, two deaths

NSW government changes aim to make clear what happens if people need to cancel or defer travel.
NSW government changes aim to make clear what happens if people need to cancel or defer travel.

Two deaths and 286 locally-acquired COVID-19 cases have been recorded in NSW, as a date is set for the return of non-urgent elective surgery.

Case numbers reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday were 25 higher than the previous day.

There were 77,119 tests conducted, 110 more than the day before.

Elective surgery will begin to return to full capacity in Greater Sydney on Monday, with NSW Health announcing a 75 per cent cap on elective surgeries at public and private hospitals "can now be safely removed due to the very high rates of vaccination and stable levels of community transmission".

Health districts will be able to impose temporary restrictions if there is a local outbreak.

The government is tipping $30 million into private hospitals to support them taking on additional surgery on behalf of the public system, adding to $458.5 million spent fast-tracking elective surgery last year and a further $80 million in this year's budget.

Two deaths were connected with the virus on Friday, while one new overseas case was also detected.

An unvaccinated woman in her 70s from southwestern Sydney died at Liverpool Hospital.

A fully-vaccinated Maitland man in his 70s who had "significant underlying health conditions" died at Maitland Hospital.

There are 236 people in hospital - up eight on the previous day's tally - with 34 in intensive care and 15 on ventilators.

Some 90.6 per cent of people over 16 are fully vaccinated and 94 per cent of adults have had their first jab.

In the 12-15 age group, more than 80 per cent have had their first dose, and 71 per cent both.

The Hunter New England recorded the most cases for a single health district with 57, followed by southwestern Sydney with 56.

Fragments of the virus have been detected in sewage samples from Wardell and Lennox Head, where there are no known or recent cases.

NSW has recorded 77,762 cases throughout the pandemic and 610 deaths.

Meanwhile, with the final restrictions lifted and people in NSW dreaming of travelling again, they are being promised simpler regulations if their plans are dashed.

Better Regulation and Innovation Minister Kevin Anderson said during the pandemic the government received thousands of complaints from people who unknowingly agreed to travel cancellation policies they were not happy with.

New information standards will clearly outline key terms and conditions of travel contracts relating to cancellations, refunds and credits, processing fees and any other important exclusions.

"With many of us booking travel across metropolitan and regional NSW, there's never been a better time to ensure consumers are clear about what happens if they need to cancel or defer travel," Mr Anderson said.

Australian Associated Press