Newly appointed Premier Dominic Perrottet unveiled changes to the roadmap on Thursday morning, the day after the state reached its milestone of 70 per cent double-dose vaccination coverage.
Mr Perrottet brought forward the easing of some restrictions from as early as Monday’s “freedom day”, including the reopening of indoor swimming pools and increasing at home visitors from five to 10.
He also loosened further rules for the Monday after 80 per cent double-dose, including the reopening of night clubs for seated drinking only and scrapping face masks in office buildings.
AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid issued a statement in the wake of the announcement, warning the altered roadmap could lead to the “potential sidelining of public health advice”.
AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid issued a statement on Thursday after the NSW government announced changes to the reopening roadmap. Picture: NCA
“The changes to the roadmap have occurred at the 11th hour without the presence of the Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant at the announcement,” Dr Khorshid said.
“Meanwhile, the NSW Government’s Crisis Cabinet has morphed into an Economic Recovery Committee.
“This strongly suggests to the community that health advice will no longer guide the NSW Government as it navigates this critical phase of the pandemic.”
While the AMA supports the gradual reopening of the economy and easing some restrictions, Dr Khorshid said it is “critical” to observe the impact of each step on transmission and case numbers.
“Otherwise NSW may still see hospitals become completely overwhelmed despite high vaccination rates,” he said. 
New South Wales will reopen to the fully vaccinated on Monday October 11. Sydneysiders are seen by the harbour on October 4. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
“The ultimate outcomes of opening too fast or too early will be avoidable deaths and the reintroduction of lockdowns and other restrictions – things no-one in NSW wants to see.
“Economic recovery cannot occur without protecting the health of the community – this is a lesson we have already learnt during this pandemic, and it must not be forgotten in the reopening phase.”
Dr Khorshid said the vaccination rate across NSW rapidly drops below 70 per cent for residents aged under 40 and to as low as 47 per cent for those aged between 16 and 19 years old.
He cited Doherty Institute modelling, which shows the potential for transmission in younger age groups is “significant”.
“NSW must not be reckless at this critical time. That would cost more lives, cause more suffering, and put the economies of NSW and the nation at risk,” he said.
Mr Perrottet said the changes announced on Thursday are “sensible”.
PM: NSW reopening ‘consistent with health advice’
He said he sat down with Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant and Health Minister Brad Hazzard in his first full day in the state’s top job on Wednesday – after taking over from Gladys Berejiklian – to discuss which restrictions could be eased.
“We then took some suggested changes to the roadmap to the (crisis) cabinet meeting last evening. It was a long meeting, but one in which I think was constructive, productive and these changes today, I think, will make a real difference,” he said on Thursday.
“We want NSW to open up as quickly as possible, as safely as possible.”
The Premier was asked whether the changes were made because he was not happy with Ms Berejiklian’s roadmap to which he said, “no”.
“I worked very closely on the preparation of the roadmap with Minister Ayres and the former Deputy Premier John Barilaro. So, look, any government has different views as we put the roadmap together,” he said.
EXPLAINER: NSW roadmap to reopening changes
Reporters also quizzed Mr Perrottet on why Dr Chant was not present to make the announcement to which he responded they “had a great relationship”.
He was also repeatedly questioned as to whether Dr Chant and the crisis cabinet – which will transition to a new subcommittee called the COVID and Economic Recovery Committee – had approved the new changes.
“Yes they have endorsed it,” he said.
“Dr Chant and the health team are members of the crisis cabinet and will continue to also be members of the subcommittee moving forward.”
NSW will reopen to the fully vaccinated on Monday October 11.
The altered freedoms at 70 per cent and 80 per cent of the roadmap continue to be for residents who have rolled their sleeves up for two COVID-19 jabs only.
‘We’re the elected officials’: Perrottet defends Chant’s absence from media conference

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