A top doctor says NSW residents should continue wearing masks indoors despite the state government scrapping a string of Covid-19 measures.
The president of the NSW Australian Medical Association, Dr Danielle McMullen, said she was ‘concerned’ restrictions had been lifted one day after the state recorded 804 cases on Tuesday.
From Wednesday the unvaccinated will be given the same freedoms as the double jabbed, masks will only be mandatory on public transport and at airports, and QR check-in codes will only be required at some venues.
‘We’ve been worried in the weeks leading up to this and encouraging the government to reconsider the mask mandate in particular,’ Ms McMullen told The Today Show on Wednesday morning.
‘We know that indoor masks are a really simple, cheap way of reducing the spread of Covid-19.
‘Unfortunately, they’re proceeding with lifting that mandate on masks, but we’re really encouraging people to keep their mask on indoors.’
She said she expected many within the community to be feeling ‘nervous’ ahead of the easing of restrictions on Wednesday, adding Christmas celebrations could now be canned as a result.
Passengers from two Virgin Australia flights will now have to spend their Christmases in isolation after two planes were declared high risk Covid exposure sites.
Monday’s Virgin Australia flight VA1105 from Newcastle to Brisbane was declared a close contact exposure site by Queensland Health, just hours after the state’s hard border with New South Wales finally came down.
An infectious person then flew on a connecting flight from Brisbane to Townsville onboard flight VA375.
Rules regarding masks and QR check-in codes have been lifted as of Wednesday in NSW
The president of the NSW Australian Medical Association, Dr Danielle McMullen, said she was ‘concerned’ restrictions would be lifted one day after the state recorded 804 cases on Tuesday
All passengers on both flights have been deemed close contacts and their mandatory 14 day isolation period in Queensland will see them spend their Christmas holidays locked away.
Ms McMullen said this would be cause for concern for many wanting to celebrate Christmas with family and friends.
‘I think there will be a number of people in the community who are nervous about participating in this week’s Christmas gatherings to try and protect themselves next week,’ she said.
‘I think the best thing we can all do, to be able to have as much of a normal life as possible, is to keep those masks on indoors, get tested if you even have the slightest sniffle, go and get a proper PCR test.’
The new rules kicked in at 12.01am on Wednesday with masks now only mandatory on public transport, planes, in airports and for front of house hospitality staff that aren’t vaccinated
The expert said it was expected cases would rise with the continued easing of restrictions adding it wasn’t surprising this aligned with Christmas parties and end of year celebrations.
‘Of course, it makes us all nervous and really we just need to try and do what we can to make this a controlled increase, rather than getting ahead of us as much as we can,’ she said.
The new rules kicked in at 12.01am on Wednesday with masks now only mandatory on public transport, planes, in airports and for front of house hospitality staff that aren’t vaccinated.
Residents will also no longer have to check into venues other than places such as gyms, small bars, hospitals, nightclubs and aged care facilities.
Premier Dominic Perrottet’s roadmap out of lockdown will also mean an end to density limits in venues as the state learns to live with the virus.
As of Tuesday 94.8 per cent of the eligible population over 16 has received their first dose while 93.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.
NSW recorded 804 new cases on Tuesday, a day before a string of restrictions were lifted
As part of the new rules there are no limitations on visitors to the home however those attending aged care and disability settings with vulnerable people, will be permitted to follow the entry policies of the facility.
Gyms, indoor recreation and sporting facilities can open up to full capacity, along with indoor swimming pools.
Shops and personal services can throw open their doors to as many patrons as they like with hairdressers, spas, beauty and nail salons, tattoo brothels and massage parlours free from any trading restrictions.
NSW lockdown roadmap: the rules from Wednesday, December 15
These apply to everyone, regardless of vaccination status
MASKS AND QR CODES
- Masks will only be required on public transport and planes, at airports and for indoors front-of-house hospitality staff not fully vaccinated
- QR check-ins only required for hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, gyms, places of worship, funerals or memorial services, personal services, pubs, small bars, registered clubs, nightclubs, strip clubs, sex on premises, and indoor music festivals with more than 1000 people
EXERCISE AND RECREATION
- No limit to number in gyms, indoor recreation and sporting facilities
SHOPPING AND PERSONAL SERVICES
- Non-critical retail reopens to all
- No person limit for personal services including hairdressers, spas, beauty and nail salons, tattoo and massage parlours
WORKING FROM HOME
- Employers allow staff to work from home at their discretion
- International travellers who are not fully vaccinated still need to quarantine on arrival for 14 days
VISITING FRIENDS AND FAMILY
- No limit to number of visitors in homes
- No limit to number of people for outdoor public gatherings
- All visitors to residents in aged care facilities and disability homes permitted in line with their policies
RESTAURANTS AND HOSPITALITY
- No person limit in hospitality venues
- Singing and dancing permitted indoors and outdoors for all
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT
- Travel between Greater Sydney and regional NSW permitted
- Carpooling permitted
- Caravan parks and camping grounds open
EVENTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- No person limit for major recreation facilities like stadiums, theme parks and race courses
- No person limit for entertainment facilities like cinemas and theatres
- No person limit for information and education facilities like art galleries, museums and libraries
- No person limit for outdoor public gatherings and recreation
- Music festivals reopen with 20,000 person limit
- Amusement centres and play centres open to all
WEDDINGS AND RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES
- Weddings and funerals permitted with no person limit, eating and drinking allowed while standing and dancing permitted
- Singing and dancing indoors permitted
- Places of worship open to everyone
Source: NSW government