Covid NSW: New mask rule brought in

NSW has brought in a new indoor mask rule as the state recorded 5715 Covid-19 cases.

Indoor masks will be brought in from midnight in NSW as the state recorded 5715 new Covid-19 cases and one new death on Thursday.

Premier Dominic Perrottet announced the new indoor mask rule on Thursday.

Hospitality venues must also abide by a new two square metre indoor rule from December 27.

The new restrictions will be in place until January 27.

“We believe today’s changes are modest, cautious and take a precautionary approach. As we move through this holiday period to the end of January the system is in a very strong position,” Mr Perrottet said.

Mr Perrottet said NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant had advised him on Thursday the Omicron strain appeared less severe than the Delta strain.

“It looks like the Omicron will be probably five times less severe than Delta,” he said.

“The early signs are encouraging.”

Dr Chant said about 80 per cent of NSW cases are of the Omicron variant, which “largely explains the steep rise in cases”.

“Pulling together multiple pieces of evidence from overseas countries such as South Africa and the UK and using some of our own emerging data indicates that infection with Omicron is likely to be milder than infection with Delta, with the risk of hospitalisation being around 60 to 80 per cent less than for Delta,” she said.

“But the issue is the increased transmissibility, leading to high case numbers and the impact it’s having on vulnerable settings, vulnerable people and critical workforces, such as our health and aged care workforce.”

The premier said people should not get tested if they weren’t asked to or did not feel unwell.

“If you don’t feel unwell, and you’re not required to get tested by NSW Health, please don’t, because your spot in the queue is taking the place or slowing down people who are sick, who are required by New South Wales Health to get tested. But in addition to that, it also slows down our capacity to get that test result back,” Mr Perrottet said.

A move to ease capacity limits on public transport has also been halted.

Transport Minister David Elliott said he had asked the state transport secretary to cease the further easing of customer capacity limits on public transport until late January 2022.

“Customer capacity limits and green dots across all modes of public transport were set to be removed on Friday 31 December 2021,” he said.

“In light of the current environment and measures announced by the Premier today, I have directed this work to be delayed to keep commuters and staff safe.

“The current capacity limit of 75 per cent of customers on any public transport service will remain in place.”

Masks are mandatory for anyone using public transport services across the network.

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns welcomed the government’s decision to mandate masks and reintroduce the two square metre rule.

“We’ve already said this is a health crisis and is above politics,” Mr Minns said.

“Whatever levers we can pull to get this pandemic under control, short of a lockdown, should be used.

“We all want to avoid a lockdown, and today’s announcements are sensible steps that the community, experts, and Labor have been calling for.”

There are now 347 people in hospital with the virus, with 45 of those in intensive care.

Cases have increased by almost 2000 since Wednesday, when 3763 infections were reported.

There were 302 people in hospital on Wednesday, with 40 of those in ICU.

There were 160,471 tests conducted in the 24 hours to 8pm on Wednesday.

Of the over 16 population, 93.5 per cent are double-dose vaccinated while 94.9 per cent have had at least one shot.

Meanwhile, Victoria recorded 2005 new infections and 10 more deaths on Thursday.

There are now 398 infected people in Victorian hospitals with 72 active patients in intensive care and 39 on ventilators.

Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino today announced that from midnight on Friday, face masks will be required in all indoor settings, except private homes, and for major events of more than 30,000.

Covid-19 is surging across the nation. Queensland reported 369 new cases, ACT 85 and Tasmania 26.

Rapid antigen tests free in NSW

Rapid antigen tests will be free and mailed directly to NSW residents’ homes while QR code check-ins in all hospitality and retail settings are set to return.

Pressure has been mounting on Premier Dominic Perrottet to stop the spread of the virus.

A massive surge in cases fuelled by the Omicron variant has sent people scrambling ahead of Christmas in the hopes of testing negative before celebrating with family.

Long queues at testing clinics and sold out rapid antigen tests have caused grief in the lead up to the holidays, with many urging the NSW Government to bring back mandatory masks.

Millions of rapid testing kits will also be made available at pharmacies, GP clinics, other sites and delivered directly to homes for free.

The Premier said the free testing kits would hopefully make testing clinics available for “people who really need it”.

“Providing rapid-antigen testing kits for those who want to do the right thing will help take the pressure of our testing clinics, while giving people confidence to get on with their lives,” he said.

“This will also help people monitor their own symptoms and go about their daily activities in a responsible manner helping protect their themselves, their families and the community.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard was instructed to order bulk amounts of testing kits, with residents being encouraged to use them before heading to events and high-risk settings.

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison said states could decide on mandating masks, he told Australians to “just wear one”.

“There’s no confusion about it, just wear one,” he said after the meeting with state premiers.

“Think of Christmas Day when you’re going to see elderly relatives, and wear a mask – it’s pretty simple.”

Mr Morrison urged state leaders to abandon travel testing requirements – one of the main reasons for huge testing queues around the country.

The Prime Minister said only one in every 1000 travellers had been testing positive to the virus, while 20 in 1000 close contacts received positive results.

It was also determined state vaccination hubs that had been rolled back will be reopened to help with the booster program, while GPs and pharmacies will be paid an extra $10 per vaccine to get boosters into arms.

A nationally consistent isolation and testing rule for casual contacts will be created.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.