Stay-at-home orders are set to be lifted in Sydney and surrounding New South Wales when the double-dose vaccination rate hits 70%.

It comes as case numbers fell in the Australian city.

NSW state premier Gladys Berejiklian said "quite confidently" that was now expected to occur on 11 October.

Shuttered pubs, restaurants and shops will be allowed to reopen to the vaccinated while friends and families living across Australia's biggest city will be able to reunite for the first time in more than three months.

"It is just this week and next week that we have to hang in there for," Ms Berejiklian said.

"We are nearly, nearly there, and let's not give up at the last minute."

Deputy premier John Barilaro said the "blueprint for freedom" would allow travel across New South Wales once 80% of over-16s are fully vaccinated, which is likely by the end of October.

Restrictions on guest numbers at funerals and weddings would be lifted at the same time, while sporting fixtures would also be permitted to resume.

However, unvaccinated adults will need to wait until at least 1 December to enjoy the same freedoms, when it is predicted that around 90% of the eligible population will be vaccinated, officials said.

New daily cases dipped below 800 in New South Wales - down from peaks of around 1,500 earlier in September - and the number of adults with at least one vaccine dose reached 85%.

Ms Berejiklian warned that hospitals still faced being overwhelmed by a surge in Covid-19 patients in the coming weeks.

"We know that once we start reopening at 70% double dose that the case numbers will go through the roof," she said.

"But what will protect us is the fact that so many people have received at least the first dose of the vaccine and those people will have that extra layer of protection against ending up in hospital or worse."

Australia has been grappling with a winter spike in the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant that forced its two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, into months-long lockdowns.

Latest coronavirus stories


But a once-sluggish vaccine rollout has picked up pace across the country, prompting leaders to outline cautious reopening plans including the mooted resumption of international travel by the end of this year.

Authorities also announced that stay-at-home orders for Canberra residents will be lifted on 15 October with bars, beauty salons and gyms among the businesses set to reopen.

About 400,000 people in the nation's capital have been under lockdown since mid-August as officials struggled to quash a small but sustained virus outbreak.

New Zealand to begin letting people isolate at home

New Zealand is to begin allowing small numbers of vaccinated travellers to isolate at home instead of in state-run quarantine facilities as part of a phased approach to reopening its borders, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said.

The pilot project starting next month will be open to 150people, who must be New Zealand citizens or residents and are fully vaccinated, Ms Ardern said at a news conference.

"While this is a pilot, it gives you a sense of where we intend to go on our borders," Ms Ardern said, adding that the government was working on a wide range of options for allowing people back in safely.

"We're working on building a greater evidence base for shorter periods of isolation in the future as well," she said.

Currently, returning New Zealanders and residents have to stay at a state quarantine facility for at least 14 days. But the facilities have limited capacity and expatriate Kiwis have complained that they are always booked up.

New Zealand eliminated Covid-19 last year and remained largely virus-free until an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant in August led to a nationwide lockdown.

Its biggest city, Auckland, is still in lockdown and new cases are being reported every day. Ms Ardern said at least 90% of its eligible population needed to be vaccinated before the tough lockdown measures can be dropped.

About 43% of eligible people are now fully vaccinated.

EMA reviewing data on Moderna's Covid-19 booster shot

The European Union's medicines regulator has said it is evaluating whether a booster dose of Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine could be given at least six months after the second shot of the two-dose course in people aged over 12.

The review by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes after its statement last week that it aims to decide early next month whether to endorse a booster for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, nearly a month after it started the evaluation process.

While European authorities have yet to approve any booster shots for coronavirus jabs - unlike their US counterpart - surging cases and breakthrough infections may prompt them to take additional precautionary measures.

"Although EMA and ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control) do not consider the need for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses to be urgent in the general population, EMA is evaluating the present application to ensure evidence is available to support further doses as necessary," the regulator said.

The application for the Moderna vaccine, called Spikevax, has been submitted by the US-based company and includes results from an ongoing trial.

Many EU countries have decided to administer a booster dose despite facing higher legal risks as there is no formal approval from the EMA, a decision the regulator believes has merits.