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NSW reports 1360 COVID-19 cases, highest daily total in three months

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NSW has reported 1360 new COVID-19 cases and one death, as clusters linked to hospitality venues continue to grow.

The figure is up almost 70 percent on Tuesday's 804 new cases. It is the highest figure since NSW's record day of 1599 cases on September 11.

There were 104,501 tests in the 24-hour period to 8 pm last night. There are 166 coronavirus patients in NSW hospitals and of those, 24 are in intensive care.

For the NSW population aged 16 and over, 94.8 percent have had one COVID-19 vaccine dose and 93.2 percent are fully vaccinated.

In 12- to 15-year-olds, the first-dose coverage is 81.4 percent, and 77.8 percent double-dose.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant, and NSW Health deputy secretary Susan Pearce are due to provide a COVID-19 update at midday.

A raft of restrictions eased in NSW on Wednesday, with density limits scrapped, QR codes no longer required in certain businesses including supermarkets and shopping centres, and masks only needed on public transport, at airports and on planes, and for unvaccinated indoor hospitality staff.

Meanwhile, Queensland Health on Tuesday night confirmed a positive COVID-19 case had been detected and linked to two flights from Monday, December 13: VA1105 from Newcastle to Brisbane and VA375 from Brisbane to Townsville.

The state opened its border to quarantine-free travel with NSW on Monday. All passengers on both flights have been categorised as close contacts, deviating from the approach to identify those in particular plane seat rows as close contacts. Further information will be provided on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, NSW brought quarantine requirements for people flying in from eight southern African countries in line with other international arrivals, following Victoria's lead earlier this week.

All fully vaccinated international arrivals in NSW must self-isolate for 72 hours and have a COVID-19 test in the first 24 hours of arrival. They can leave isolation when 72 hours have passed and they have a negative test result.

NSW Health said fully vaccinated arrivals from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini (Swaziland), and Malawi will no longer have to enter 14-day quarantine.

Fully vaccinated people from the above-listed countries who are already in NSW hotel quarantine, as of Wednesday, will have to stay there until at least 72 hours after they arrived.

NSW Health advised these arrivals to avoid high-risk settings for seven days and have an additional PCR test on day six. They are strongly encouraged to have another test on day 12.

Late last month, countries placed travel bans or additional restrictions on southern African countries after scientists reported the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The South African foreign ministry had said: "Excellent science should be applauded and not punished."

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera accused Western countries of "Afrophobia", while South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the restrictions were "unjustified and unfairly discriminate".

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