After an enormous effort by NSW to get vaccinated, the state is expected to hit the 80% double dose target over the weekend — but, it looks like regional travel still won’t be on the cards.

NSW’s speedy vaccination rate has resulted in 80% freedoms likely being instated next Monday 18 October — a whole week earlier than projected. However, 9 News has reported that the NSW Government is removing regional travel from the next week’s freedoms for residents of Greater Sydney.

9 News journalist Chris O’Keefe reported that regional travel in NSW will be delayed for at least a week, and possibly longer.

The news comes amidst growing concerns that regional NSW is more at risk of COVID-spread due to lower vaccination rates in areas outside of the Greater Sydney region.

For the first time during the entire pandemic, a regional NSW LGA had more cases than those in Sydney. Hunter New England reported 103 new cases over night – basically a quarter of NSW’s total 406 cases for Thursday. To put that into perspective, south west Sydney reported only 62 cases.

Premier Dominic Perrottet held a meeting with key ministers and health officials to discuss regional travel, saying that COVID cases in regional areas would probably rise after Greater Sydney is given unlimited travel in the state.

“We certainly believe, based on the advice we’ve received from (NSW) Health, that there will be naturally an increase in case numbers, in hospitalisations, as mobility increases across the state,” he said earlier this week, per 9 News.

So, put your Airbnb bookings on hold — we’re not out of the thick of it yet. You can read about the rest of the 80% freedoms NSW will get hopefully next week here.