New local COVID-19 cases continue to spread in regional NSW, including in aged care facilities near the border with Victoria, while travel restrictions ease between the two states.
There were 249 local cases recorded on Friday with 73 in the hunter New England health district and 29 in the Murrumbidgee area, most of which were in Albury where two more people died in aged care facilities.
There were 83 new cases in Sydney health districts and 21 on the state’s mid-north coast.
Further south there were 14 in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region and five in southern NSW.
Three more people who died with COVID-19 were reported on Friday.
A fully vaccinated woman in her 90s died at the Mercy Place aged care facility in Albury where she acquired her infection.
A woman in her 80s died at the Southern Cross Care residential facility in Albury. She had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
A man in his 80s who had received one dose of the vaccine died at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney.
There are 285 COVID-19 cases in hospital, with 61 people in intensive care, 28 on ventilation.
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and his Victorian counterpart Daniel Andrews issued a joint statement highlighting travel changes which came into effect on Friday.
Victoria has declared all NSW local government areas are now “green zones”.
This means there are no testing or quarantine requirements for NSW residents travelling to Victoria, although visitors still need to obtain a permit verifying they do not have COVID-19.
Unvaccinated Victorians remain barred from NSW for travel or recreation.
While people from NSW will not have to quarantine upon arrival in Victoria, they will be subject to the state’s rules preventing the unvaccinated from attending hospitality venues and other settings.
Mr Perrottet told Sydney radio 2GB on Friday the change was “great for business and great for families”.
Families will be able to reunite and travel by air on one of the busiest aeroplane routes in the world.
“We’re slowly getting back to normality,” Mr Perrottet said.
There were 80,581 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday.
NSW has fully vaccinated 89.1 per cent of its population aged over 16, while 93.8 per cent have had at least one dose.
Victoria is not far behind, with 92.7 per cent single-dose coverage and 82.5 per cent double-dosed.
Despite other restrictions lifting, NSW school students sitting the HSC from next week will still have to wear masks when they do their exams.
There are concerns elderly examiners could be put at risk if children are not wearing masks.
Wearing a mask also reduced the risk of a student being deemed a close contact and having to isolate if there was a case at a school, Mr Perrottet said.