NSW Reinstate Restrictions Amid Concerns Over Covid Surge
Dancing & singing banned
As anticipated, the NSW government will reintroduce restrictions from Saturday amid growing concerns over surging Covid cases and hospitalisations.
Premier Dominic Perrottet has confirmed under the new rules, singing and dancing in hospitality venues is banned until January 27, with health authorities to reassess upcoming major events.
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The changes do not include frivolous displays at weddings, or from performers, or classes that people may be conducting.
Mr Perrottet said the reinstated restrictions are “sensible and proportionate changes” and advised "if you can sit down while drinking, please do so.”
Meantime, NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant explained the new restrictions are necessary as over the "last seven days... almost 50 per cent of the cases are aged between 20 and 39 years."
"The transmission is happening in a variety of settings. Obviously in those household and social gatherings that people are having, and also in places like pubs, clubs, nightclubs, and the concern around the behaviour of dancing and singing," she said.
"So, with this time, we’re really just trying to slow the spread, reduce the introduction to new social networks as a mechanism of slowing the spread to remove that peak, blunt that peak in the projections that my colleague shared with you, in order to reduce the impact, we’re seeing on our hospital and those other critical services in the community."
- Dr Chant
Meanwhile, in a desperate bid to relieve the strains expected to implode on the state's health system, all non-urgent surgeries will be suspended until mid-February.
“It has been an incredibly challenging two years, many people are tired, but our health system remains strong because of the efforts and the tireless work of our health staff right across NSW,” Mr Perrottet said at this afternoon’s press conference.
It comes as NSW hospitals have been warned the number of Covid-positive people needing hospitalisation could exceed 4500 within coming weeks.
The alarming prediction was delivered by state health authorities to public and private hospitals yesterday.
Furthermore, from mid-next week, people in NSW will be able to register a positive rapid antigen test though the Service NSW app, which will count towards daily case numbers without needing a PCR test.
"Now, currently we are working with our partners in Service New South Wales to establish a mechanism so you can actually register your positive RAT," Dr Chant explained.
"And then we will change the orders so there’s a requirement where, when you get the information that you are - you will then be required to isolate as if you had a PCR positive test, and you get the same experience as if you did that."
So, if you test positive on a RAT while symptomatic, or as a household contact, you no longer need to confirm your positive diagnosis with a PCR test.
However, if you are asymptomatic and are not a close contact, you can get a PCR test to confirm a positive RAT result.
Although not interested in positive case numbers, Chant has confirmed that registered positive RAT results will count towards daily numbers, as is the case in Victoria.
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