NSW bans singing and dancing from tomorrow, some elective surgeries put on hold

NSW bans singing and dancing from tomorrow, some elective surgeries put on hold

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced new measures for hospitality and entertainment venues in order to combat the spread of COVID-19, while category three surgeries will be put on hold to reduce the strain on the healthcare system.

From tomorrow until 27 January, singing and dancing will be banned in hospitality venues, entertainment facilities and major recreation facilities. The rules will not apply to weddings, dance classes or performers in those settings.

Elective surgeries which are not required within 365 days will also be paused until mid-February.

“An overwhelming majority of major events across News South Wales will proceed,” said the Premier.

“Only in circumstances where NSW Health deems that event to be a high-risk event, then we will contact those organisers and work through the current COVID-safe plans with you." 

The new measures are an attempt to slow down the spread of COVID-19, as almost 50 per cent of cases in the past week have come from people aged between 20-39 years old.

“When you're dancing on a dance floor, when you're energised and singing in a group and moving around, then you're actually risking exposing people that you would normally day to day not come into contact with,” Chief Health Minister Dr Kerry Chant said.

“We're really just trying to slow the spread, reduce the introduction to new social networks as a mechanism of slowing the spread”.

In line with National Cabinet’s plan to ease testing requirements, NSW will implement a system to report positive rapid-antigen COVID-19 test results.

“We're working with our partners in Service New South Wales to establish a mechanism so that you can actually register your positive rapid-antigen test (RAT),” said Chant.

“In this current setting of such high case numbers, if you've got symptoms and you've got a positive rapid test – then you’re a case.”

“If you're a household contact or you've had those high-risk exposures, [and] you’re also positive – you’re a case.

“Now if you had no exposures to anyone - it's really unusual that you have got a positive test. Under those circumstances you might get a PCR to validate it.”

Booster shots will also be mandated for frontline healthcare workers and teachers.

“Moving forward, we're not as interested in absolute case numbers," said Chant. 

“What we're very interested in is making sure the right people with COVID are getting the care they need - if there's interventions we can do to support better outcomes or to manage the underlying health conditions.”

The state has recorded 38,625 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, with 1,738 patients in hospital and 134 in ICU. The death toll has grown to 11.

Updated at 2.10pm AEDT on 6 January 2022.

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