News, Culture & Society

Covid NSW: Dominic Perrottet confirms indoor mask mandates will be extended for a MONTH 

NSW has extended indoor mask mandates and the ban on singing and dancing for another month to counter the state’s Omicron outbreak.

Premier Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday said masks would remain compulsory in all of the state’s public indoor settings until February 28. 

Hospitality venues must still operate under the one person per two square metre rule and QR code check-ins will stay mandatory. 

Mr Perrottet said the extension marked ‘a safe and measured approach’ as NSW moves into the next stage of the pandemic.

‘The measures we have in place are cautious and ensure we get through this period of time,’ he said.

‘The priority is keeping people safe, keeping them in work and keeping society open.’ 

Density limits and mask rules were reintroduced before Christmas to pump the brakes on Omicron’s spread and originally set to expire on January 27. 

The announcement came as NSW recorded 18,512 local Covid cases and 29 deaths on Tuesday – a 22.7 per cent rise in daily infections from Monday.

NSW hospitalisation figures have risen to a record 2,943 up from 2,816, while the state’s ICU rates have fallen from 196 to 183.

NSW has extended indoor mask mandates and the ban on singing and dancing for another month. Pictured is a shopper in the Sydney CBD on Christmas Eve

Premier Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday said masks would remain compulsory in all of the state’s public indoor settings until February 28

THE COVID RULES ALL NSW RESIDENTS MUST FOLLOW UNTIL FEBRUARY 28

Hospitality venues, including pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes, and nightclubs must follow the one person per two square metre rule indoors 

Masks are required in all indoor settings (except residences). Masks are strongly encouraged where you cannot maintain a safe distance from others

QR code check-ins are compulsory at certain premises, including hospitality venues and retail shops 

Singing and dancing is not permitted in hospitality venues, entertainment facilities, nightclubs, indoor music festivals and indoor major recreation facilities (except for weddings, performers, instructors and students)

Source: NSW Government 

QR code check-ins will stay compulsory at certain premises, including hospitality venues and retail shops

QR code check-ins will stay compulsory at certain premises, including hospitality venues and retail shops

Of the 9,090 positive RATs recorded since 8pm yesterday, 8,242 are from tests taken in the last 7 days, NSW Health stated.  

NSW detected 15,091 new cases on Monday, marking a 26 per cent dip on the 20,324 reported on Sunday, and another 24 deaths. 

The numbers were the lowest tally recorded so far in 2022, marking 48.9 per cent drop since the same time last week and raising hopes the state had seen its peak. 

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant on Tuesday underlined the importance of the third Covid booster shot. 

‘For those with underlying health conditions, I want to acknowledge that it’s been a difficult time throughout the pandemic and a difficult time recently,’ she said.

‘But can I re-emphasise that booster doses will give you significant additional protection.’ 

She said side-effects from the booster were no worse than those from the first and second doses.

‘The side effects are short-lived, but the protection it affords is incredibly important,’ she said.

As of Tuesday, 93.9 per cent of NSW residents over the age of 16 have had both Covid-19 vaccine doses and 33.8 per cent have received their booster shot.

Mr Perrottet has meanwhile promised that businesses reeling from the effects of the Omicron wave will get fresh support within a week. 

The state Labor opposition says a business support package is urgently needed to lift small and medium-sized businesses out of the summer’s ‘shadow lockdown’ as the rampant virus keeps workers and customers at home.

Treasurer Matt Kean is working with stakeholder groups and industry ‘to make sure the support that we provide … during this period has impact’, Mr Perrottet told Sydney radio 2GB. 

One of Australia’s most eminent experts earlier claimed Mr Perrottet was right not to plunge the state into a lockdown.

The ban on singing and dancing will remain in NSW for another month to counter the state's Omicron outbreak

The ban on singing and dancing will remain in NSW for another month to counter the state’s Omicron outbreak

New South Wales has recorded 18,512 local Covid cases and 29 deaths on Tuesday as Victoria hits 14,836 new infections

New South Wales has recorded 18,512 local Covid cases and 29 deaths on Tuesday as Victoria hits 14,836 new infections

Global health chiefs have said it’s now ‘endgame’ for the pandemic as case rates and hospital numbers stabilise all without the closure of businesses. 

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant, known for fighting for tougher restrictions, says she is ‘incredibly optimistic’ about the future, exactly two years after the first Covid case was confirmed in Australia. 

Experts say Victoria, the ACT and South Australia have also passed their peak while daily infections in Queensland continue to drop, again without locking down. 

Mr Perrottet has previously come under fire for refusing to introduce harsh restrictions on Sydney residents after Omicron entered the state in December. 

NSW detected 15,091 new cases on Monday, marking a 26 per cent dip on the 20,324 reported on Sunday, and another 24 deaths (pictured, a sign notifying customers RAT kits are sold out

NSW detected 15,091 new cases on Monday, marking a 26 per cent dip on the 20,324 reported on Sunday, and another 24 deaths (pictured, a sign notifying customers RAT kits are sold out

Critics such as 2GB’s Ray Hadley has slammed the premier for being ‘arrogant’ in removing mask mandates on December 15 before quickly returning them. 

He also critiqued the state leader’s decision to axe hotel quarantine requirements for travellers and doing away with restrictions introduced by his predecessor. 

Professor Catherine Bennett, the chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, told Daily Mail Australia the Omicron strain was so virulent it would spread regardless of whether authorities used a heavy lockdown or lighter restrictions. 

Prof. Bennett also said the premier’s move to briefly scrap mask rules would not have had a major impact on community transmission of the highly-contagious strain. 

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant (pictured) said she feels 'incredibly optimistic' about the future exactly two years after Omicron entered the state in December

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant (pictured) said she feels ‘incredibly optimistic’ about the future exactly two years after Omicron entered the state in December 

She told Daily Mail Australia: ‘What is interesting is where countries have used full restrictions overseas, the lockdown stops Omicron for a short while and then it starts spreading again.

‘It’s harder to stop than previous variants because of the speed with which it moves through the community.’

The expert said there were limits to letting the virus move freely, but by and large NSW had reeled in freedoms that posed a high risk of transmission.

‘People now are managing the virus so they can do all the things they want to do – you can go to a restaurant but there’s a lot more space,’ Prof. Bennett said. 

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk