NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant are appearing before a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other senior NSW Health staff, healthcare unions and academics are also expected to appear when the public accountability committee holds its first hearing since September on Friday.
The reopening of NSW and recent challenges facing the aged care and health sectors will be under scrutiny.
More than a million people have been infected and nearly 1200 have lost their lives since the most recent hearing, committee chair David Shoebridge said.
“This has placed extreme pressure on our health care and aged care sectors, along with many other industries.
“We welcome the opportunity to ask important questions relating to the minister’s handling of the pandemic over the last four months,” Mr Shoebridge said.
Impacts on regional health and aged care and the health advice the government received before easing restrictions in December will also be a focus of the hearing.
Australian Medical Association NSW president Danielle McMullen, NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association assistant general secretary Shaye Candish, and Health Services Union state secretary Gerard Hayes will appear in the morning, followed by a number of academics and health sector executives.
Ms Chant is scheduled to appear along with Mr Hazzard in the afternoon.
NSW recorded 10,130 new infections and 24 deaths on Thursday.
Hospitalisations fell to 1795, with 121 in intensive care and 55 on ventilators.
Just over half of those eligible for a booster shot in the state have received one, while 44.2 per cent of primary school aged children having received their first dose.
Premier Dominic Perrottet announced on Wednesday that visitation rules for hospitals will change, a day after apologising on behalf of the state to people who missed out on saying goodbye to dying relatives.
The gravely ill and dying will now be allowed visitors, along with those giving birth, without their visitors having to apply for exemptions as was previously the case.
“Ultimately we want to make sure that compassion is the major focus,” Mr Perrottet said.
The number of daily visitors to the state’s hospitals will remain limited and hospitals will be able to block visits when necessary.
The resumption of elective surgery in Sydney’s public hospitals is now a priority for the government, and restrictions on density and requirements that masks be worn indoors are unlikely to be extended past February, the premier said.