Challenging two months ahead: NSW premier

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says people can't afford to let their guards down.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says people can't afford to let their guards down.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has told people in NSW to stay vigilant in her last daily morning briefing ahead of an incoming peak in COVID-19 cases and a "challenging" two months.

There were 1262 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases and seven deaths, including a man in his 20s, recorded in NSW on Sunday.

The premier said there had been some stabilisation of infection numbers in the local government areas of concern but the virus was "picking up pace" in certain suburbs.

"We can't afford to let our guard down," Ms Berejiklian told reporters at the last press conference of its kind on Sunday.

"We cannot afford to not keep doing what we've been doing because otherwise we will see too many cases when we open up at 70 per cent double dose and that isn't what we want to see."

The daily 11am updates will from Monday be replaced by a video from NSW Health to communicate the new case numbers and concerns of the day.

The seven deaths reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday include a man in his 20s from western Sydney and six people from south-western Sydney in their 40s, 50s, 70s and 80s.

Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the man in his 20s was unvaccinated and had significant underlying health conditions.

"However, I just want to make the point, that while you are likely to have more severe COVID if you are older and have underlying health conditions, even previously healthy people of all ages can get severe disease and die," Dr Chant said.

When asked to respond to images of people flocking to beaches in Sydney's east over the weekend, Dr Chant said it caused her "some concern" but said the reality was outdoor environments were "probably the safest" if people were social distancing.

"I would like to see that people are really respectful and they are adhering to the public health orders as they move about," she said.

There are currently 1206 COVID-19 patients in NSW in hospital, with 220 in intensive care and 92 ventilated.

By midnight on Friday 78.1 per cent of the over-16 population had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 45.6 per cent were fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile state and federal opposition leaders have criticised the plan to scrap the daily live-streamed briefings weeks before the COVID-19 crisis is expected to peak in NSW.

But Ms Berejiklian defended the government's decision and said she would still front the media when necessary whether it was seven or three days a week.

"While there would be ample information provided on a daily basis, I will not necessarily be the one providing the information on a daily basis, and that is because, as I have said, I need a clear head," she said on Sunday.

"The next two months will be the most challenging our state has seen perhaps ever. And I need to make sure we are not only making decisions for the next day but for the next week and next month."

Elsewhere, thousands of NSW residents across the state's northeast and southwest enjoyed their second day of freedom in weeks as stay-at-home restrictions lifted on Saturday for regional centres of Coffs Harbour, Wagga Wagga and Albury.

Masks are mandatory at indoor public venues, but hospitality, retail and sporting spots have all been cleared to reopen with restrictions while rules for indoor and outdoor gatherings have been relaxed with limits.

Australian Associated Press