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NSW records 261 COVID-19 circumstances, one death

NSW has recorded 261 new local COVID-19 cases and one death as the premier promises to review procedures that have forced hundreds of schools and child care centres to close due to the virus.

On Thursday there were 17 NSW public schools closed – a common occurrence since they reopened last month after months of home schooling.

Most of the 270 schools closed in the past month have been primary schools, where the children are too young to be vaccinated.

Schools are forced to close for one to two days for cleaning and contact tracing if a member of the school community contracts the virus and children who are close contacts need to quarantine at home for 14 days.

Premier Dominic Perrottet was asked on Thursday if he would intervene to alleviate the frustration of thousands of parents about the resumption of home schooling so soon after schools reopened.

“My message is and my commitment is we will get those schools cleaned as quickly as possible and get those classrooms open again as quickly as possible to minimise inconvenience across the board,” he told reporters.

“But where we can change policy and look at new ways of doing things we will.”

Australia’s medical regulators are considering data from Pfizer to approve a vaccine for children aged five to 11.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration on Wednesday also granted a provisional determination for Moderna to submit its vaccine data for children aged six to 11.

The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for use in five to 11-year-olds in the United States, following data from a trial in several thousand children.

Meanwhile, NSW Health reported an unvaccinated woman in her 60s with underlying health conditions from southwest Sydney died at Sutherland Hospital on Wednesday.

The number of new local cases in NSW jumped by 45 while some 90.4 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, 80.3 per cent have had their first dose, and 71.1 per cent both.

There are 228 people in hospital – down seven on the previous day’s tally – with 40 in ICU and 16 ventilated.

The Hunter New England Local Health District continues to record the highest number of cases with 60 new people diagnosed.

There were 49 new cases in South Western Sydney LHD, 35 from Sydney LHD and 30 from Murrumbidgee LHD, which covers towns on the Victorian border.

NSW Health’s ongoing sewage surveillance program detected fragments of the virus in West Wyalong, Bermagui, Cobar and Uralla, where there are currently no known or recent cases.

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