While it seems as if the Omicron wave that swept the country may well be receding in certain states, Australia is not quite out of the deep water just yet.
This morning, NSW recorded 18,000 new cases while VIC recorded 14,000, a steep decline from the highs of the previous few weeks. However, deaths are still accumulating, with both states recording a further 29 people dying of COVID in the past 24 hours.
Because of this, NSW premier Dominic Perrottet has announced that the current COVID-19 health measures put in place earlier in the month will remain for a further four weeks in the state. They were supposed to be repealed on 27 January.
Outbreaks in aged care facilities and high hospitalisation numbers are key factors in continuing the measures, which are definitely not a lockdown so don’t even think of calling them a lockdown. The restarting of schools and non-urgent elective surgeries are also a key focus in trying to ensure case numbers don’t spike again.
Here’s what the restrictions entail.
NSW New COVID Restrictions
The setting currently in place will remain in place until midnight on Sunday, 28 February.
They demand that hospitality venues, including pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes, and nightclubs, must continue to follow the one person per 2 square metres rule indoors.
Masks will still be required in all indoor settings except for private homes. They are also strongly encouraged when social distancing is difficult.
QR code check-ins remain compulsory at certain premises including hospitality venues and retail shops.
Singing and dancing will remain barred in hospitality venues, entertainment facilities, nightclubs, indoor music festivals and indoor major recreation facilities (except for weddings, performers, instructors and students), No word on religious music festivals, though.
As additional measures, people are encouraged to continue to work from home where possible and to reduce mingling when eating and drinking.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said rolling over these measures would continue to protect the community and our health system.
“We have always said we will respond to what is in front of us and tailor our approach as required and that is exactly what we are doing,” Perrottet said.
“We are transitioning to living with COVID and we will need to continually update our approach to ensure we are keeping people safe and protecting our health system.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard took the slightly awkward-dad opportunity at the press conference to talk up the need for vaccination by quoting the late, great singer Meat Loaf.
“Sadly, in the passing of Meat Loaf, but I know the words Two Out of Three Aint Bad. Well actually three out of three is best,” he said.