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Emails are not health recommendation: NSW premier

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has defended the government’s pandemic record, after emails suggested authorities ignored health advice despite promises to follow it.

Emails released on Monday show COVID-19 restrictions were implemented weeks after they were recommended in some cases, and other measures were selectively applied to 12 LGA COVID-19 hotspots despite advice to be “consistent”.

While admitting the government hadn’t always “got everything right”, Mr Perrottet said it had struck the right balance between a variety of economic and health concerns.

“Sometimes, particularly in a pandemic, governments are going to get it wrong.

“We haven’t got everything right… (but) we seek to get the balance right and I believe that we did,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

He rejected accusations from Labor that the messages – between Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant and Health Minister Brad Hazzard – showed the government defying health advice.

“That email is not the health advice, it’s an email,” the premier said.

But Opposition Leader Chris Minns said if the emails weren’t the real health advice, the government should prove it.

“If they’ve got further information to release, we’re all ears.”

“I suspect we’ll never see it.”

Deputy Liberal leader and Western Sydney Minister Stuart Ayres also rubbished criticism from the opposition, which says the government divided Sydney by enforcing harsher restrictions in the west and southwest.

“I completely reject the idea that we live in a two-tiered city,” he said.

“The government made decisions to attack the virus where the virus was.

“I’m really over the victim mentality.

“This is a group of people that muscled up, rolled up their sleeves, got vaccinated, did everything we asked and because of what they did … we’re in a strong economic recovery position now.”

Mr Perrottet also pointed out people in the northern beaches were locked down last Christmas, suffering under harsher restrictions than the rest of the city.

But Mr Minns hit back at that too, saying the government is diminishing the suffering of those in Western Sydney.

“They’ve got every right to feel they’ve being picked on by their own government.”

NSW reported 173 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and the deaths of two unvaccinated people.

They include a woman in her 80s, who acquired her infection at the Presbyterian Aged Care nursing home at Ashfield, and a man in his 80s from southwest Sydney.

Some 196 people remain in hospital with the virus, 34 of them in ICU and 13 of them ventilated.

Meanwhile, the share of NSW residents who have been jabbed with at least one vaccine dose inches closer to 95 per cent.

About 92 per cent of people 16 and older are now fully vaccinated, while 75.4 per cent of children aged between 12 and 15 have had two vaccine doses.

With the number of new cases across the state remaining around 200 a day, frontline workers have protested at NSW parliament against government plans to change workers’ compensation rules for those who catch the virus.

The government wants to drop a provision in the Workers Compensation Act that allows the presumption that workers who test positive to COVID-19 caught the virus while on duty.

But unions representing workers in retail, health, hospitality, and prisons say it is unfair to repeal the law and force frontline workers to jump through bureaucratic hoops to prove they caught it at work.

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