No new coronavirus deaths have been reported in NSW in the previous 24 hours for the first time in almost three months, while health authorities encourage people who have been vaccinated for six months to book in for a booster shot.

The milestone comes as vaccination rates across the state continue to climb, keeping hospitalisations low.

NSW reported 250 local COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, 36 lower than the previous day.

The health districts with the most cases are in South Western Sydney where 54 people tested positive and Western Sydney where there are 42 new cases.

In the state’s regions there were 39 new cases in the Hunter New England region and 32 in the Murrumbidgee area.

There are 228 people in hospital – also down on the previous day’s tally – with 32 in intensive care.

The last time the state recorded no new deaths in a reporting period was more than 11 weeks ago, on August 24.

Some 90.8 per cent of people over 16 are fully vaccinated and 94.1 per cent of adults have had their first jab.

In the 12-15 age group, more than 80 per cent have had their first dose, and 72.4 per cent both.

NSW Health’s Dr Jeremy McAnulty said now the state has passed the 90 per cent double-dose vaccination milestone, it is important for anyone aged 18 and over who has been vaccinated for six months to seek out a booster shot.

“While the risk of infection and disease is much higher in unvaccinated people, we do sometimes see outbreaks occurring among vaccinated people particularly in indoor settings like gyms, bars and pubs,” Dr McAnulty said on Saturday.

“Early testing, if you have the symptoms, is really critical.”

High vaccination rates also mean from Monday NSW Health will no longer list case locations that a COVID-19 positive person has attended.

Also from Monday, elective surgery will begin to return to full capacity in Greater Sydney.

Meanwhile the state is gearing up for the return of international students next month.

Vaccinated students entering NSW will not have to quarantine, the government announced on Friday.

The first chartered plane will touch down in Sydney on December 6 with about 250 students from countries including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, China and Canada.

A second flight bringing students from South Asia is also scheduled.

Premier Dominic Perrottet says this is a “significant milestone”.

“They don’t just make a significant contribution to our economy but international students play a role in our culture and contribute to our community and lifestyle,” the premier said in a statement.

The announcement mirrors one made by Mr Perrottet in May, which was thwarted by the Delta outbreak that started the following month.

NSW Vice-Chancellors’ Committee convenor Barney Glover welcomed the announcement and said there would hopefully be 500 fully vaccinated students returned to NSW and ACT universities by the end of the year.

“We have missed the many contributions international students make to our community,” Professor Glover said.

International students to return to NSW
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