15 December 2021

Seven new cases of COVID-19 in ACT as NSW slashes remaining restrictions despite case spike

| Lottie Twyford
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NSW has dropped many COVID measures, including QR check-in. Photo: Region Media.

The ACT has recorded seven new cases of COVID-19 in the last reporting period to 8 pm last night.

Interstate, NSW has dropped the majority of its remaining restrictions – including mask-wearing, checking-in to venues and the vaccine mandate, despite the state recording a spike in cases. NSW recorded 1360 cases overnight- the highest number of new infections since 11 September.

Locally, with the seven new cases, there are now 61 active cases in the Territory. To 9 am this morning, 2194 negative test results were recorded.

Of the Territory’s 12-plus population, 98.3 per cent are now fully vaccinated.

There are a total of three active and cleared cases in ACT hospitals as of 8 pm yesterday, including one in intensive care. No one is on a ventilator in the ACT.

Yesterday, the ACT recorded four cases of COVID-19.

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New casual exposure sites listed online include popular nightclubs, bars and restaurants, as well as a supermarket.

On Thursday, 9 December, exposure sites are PJ’s in the City between 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm, and Mooseheads Downstairs between 9:50 pm and 11:30 pm.

In the early house of Friday (10 December) morning, Blackbird Canberra is listed between 12:30 am and 1:30 pm as is One22 between 1:30 am and 3 am.

Saffron in Kingston is listed on Saturday, 11 December between 8 pm and 10 pm and so is ALDI Weston Creek on Sunday, 12 December, between 2 pm and 3 pm.

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As above, NSW’s case numbers continue to spike. The state recorded 1360 new COVID-19 cases overnight and one death. Yesterday, there were 804 new cases. Two days ago there were only 536 reported cases.

A cluster linked to an event at The Argyle House in Newtown has grown to more than 200 cases. Health authorities are investigating whether the person who potentially started that could have breached self-isolation orders.

It’s believed a person carrying the variant also attended a Sydney Harbour party boat cruise.

As of yesterday, the state reported 85 Omicron cases.

There are 166 people in hospitals across the state with the virus and 24 in ICU.

NSW Health said 94.8 per cent of the 16-plus population has received their first dose, and 93.2 per cent has had two doses.

Density limits no longer apply across the state, mask-wearing and QR check-ins have been dropped in most settings and proof of vaccination is no longer required in the majority of premises.

The state’s retail union has urged customers to continue wearing masks.

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Meanwhile, all passengers on flight VA1105 from Newcastle to Brisbane have been deemed close contacts of a positive case on the aircraft. They will now all be spending Christmas in quarantine.

It was the first flight to have left Newcastle since the Queensland border opened.

Passengers on another flight from Brisbane to Townsville on Monday face the same fate.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said Queensland health authorities have allowed him to travel to the state, despite the Prime Minister being identified as a casual contact of someone with COVID-19. He attended a school graduation ceremony in Sydney last Friday. Since then, one person at the event has tested positive.

In Victoria, there are 1405 new cases and three deaths.

There are 365 Victorians hospitalised with COVID-19. As of Friday, 92 per cent of the state’s eligible population (12 and over) is fully vaccinated.

Across the entire state, there are 11,518 active cases of the virus.

There are concerns about a possible super-spreader event of the Omicron variant linked to a bar in Fitzroy and a pub in Collingwood.

And further south, Tasmania has reopened its borders to fully-vaccinated travellers from the mainland.

Overseas arrivals from the eight southern African countries initially identified as of concern due to Omicron are also no longer required to quarantine.

All Australian visa holders, skilled workers and international students are also able to return from today.

An update is expected from Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith and Acting Chief Health Officer Dr Vanessa Johnston later this afternoon.

More to come.

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With the explosion of cases in NSW, it shows what happens when restrictions are eased too early and too fast.
In today’s press conference, it was clear that the NSW Premier has decided to no longer follow health advice, with the Chief Health Officer opposing the Government’s relaxation of restrictions, QR codes and masks.
It was quite scary to hear the Health Minister talking of 25,000 new cases per day by the end of January.
WA has effectively shut it’s borders to NSW again, by imposing nearly impossible conditions of entry.
I think it’s fantastic that we still have QR codes but I think we need to revisit mandatory masks indoors and in crowded settings. We’ve only got to look at NSW for a clue as to what could otherwise happen.

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