7 January 2022

UPDATED: No dancing, no eating and drinking while standing under new COVID-19 rules for hospitality

| James Coleman
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ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said that the ACT health system is starting to experience increased pressure, with more than 230 health care workers currently in quarantine. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

UPDATED 7:40 pm: In addition to existing public health measures, from 12 noon on Saturday 8 January 2022 hospitality and licensed businesses (including cafes, bars and nightclubs, and indoor entertainment venues) must ensure that patrons are seated while eating and drinking, and dancing at these venues will not be permitted.

Nightclubs will be able to operate as bars within existing density limits. Dancing in these venues will not be permitted however.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that with COVID-19 cases across the border growing rapidly, and the ACT experiencing more than a thousand new cases today, “these measures are necessary to slow the spread of the virus”.

“Mandatory face masks, density limits and other public health measures for businesses and indoor venues will also continue.

“Events will continue with ACT Health working closely with event organisers to ensure COVID safety plans are in place.”

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said that Canberrans are also strongly advised to consider the size of their gatherings both in homes and outdoors.

“COVID-19 isn’t going away and as a community we are learning to live with it. However, we do need everyone to continue to be responsible in the way they manage their social events through things like minimising the size of gatherings at home and remaining in known social groups when outside of the home.

“If you can hold your gathering outdoors, then please do. If your gathering is indoors, consider how many guests you invite. Keeping these numbers low, along with practising COVID safe measures such as continuing to wear a mask, physical distancing and good hand hygiene, will help limit the spread of the virus,” she said.

The queue at the Garran COVID-19 testing centre.

Testing centres are shutting early across the ACT due to lack of staff. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

The ACT Government says they will continue to review the public health directions over the coming days and may look to introduce further measures if necessary, including possible limits to indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said that the ACT health system is starting to experience increased pressure, with more than 230 health care workers currently in quarantine.

“To support our frontline health workers, we have had to make the very difficult decision to cease most Category 2 and 3 elective surgeries at Calvary Public Hospital for the next six to eight weeks.

“Postponing elective surgeries is always incredibly difficult, but taking this action will enable additional health care staff to be redeployed to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. There will be no changes to elective surgeries at Canberra Hospital or in the ACT’s private hospitals at this time.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and will look to switch non-essential elective surgeries back on at Calvary as soon as we possibly can.

“’I’d like to thank Canberrans for their ongoing support at this time,” she said.

James Kondilios

James Kondilios, the 23-year-old Canberra man who died of COVID-19 in a Sydney hospital on Tuesday, 4 January. Photo: Facebook.

UPDATED 12 pm: The ACT has reported 1246 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8 pm on Thursday, 6 January, surpassing 1000 for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

The additional cases of COVID-19 take the ACT’s total active caseload to 4511, and of these, 24 people are in hospital, including three in intensive care and three on ventilators.

Tributes are also flowing for a Canberra man who died from COVID-19 two days ago in Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital.

James Peter Kondilios, 23, was fully vaccinated and had no known underlying health conditions.

A social media post from Acropolis Funeral Services states that Mr Kondilios had “peacefully passed away” on Tuesday, 4 January.

“The family of James invite friends and family to wear some colour for James at his funeral service, as that was what he would have loved,” reads the post.

ACT Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith extended her sympathies to Mr Kondilios’s family and friends, while commentary on social media describes him as a great friend, hard worker and beloved member of the community.

READ ALSO More than 1000 homes and businesses still without power in ACT as another storm rolls in

“The last message you sent to me was, ‘Couldn’t ask for a better friend,'” reads one post.

“Likewise bro, the years I spent with you will always be a great part of my life. You will always be on my mind to delight me, encourage me and guide me.”

Mr Kondilios was a champion power lifter, and in 2015 he represented Australia at the Power Lifting World Championships in Finland, where he won a bronze medal.

ACT Wrestling described James as “a loved and respected member of our community who will be hugely missed”.

Mr Kondilios attended Waverley College in Sydney and later studied an advanced science degree at the Australian National University in Canberra.

His most recent job was as a data scientist at the Department of Social Services, according to his LinkedIn profile.

A total of 3347 negative test results were recorded in the 24 hours to 9 am on Friday, 7 January, in the ACT. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the ACT since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 is 9429.

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The percentage of the eligible population who are now fully vaccinated is 98.5 per cent. ACT residents aged 18 and above who have received their booster shot is at 20.3 per cent.

ACT Health are no longer classifying people as close or casual contacts. Instead, they are focusing on the level of exposure someone may have had with a positive COVID-19 case, separating them into the categories of high, moderate or low.

ACT Health has asked the community to assess their personal risk and circumstances to check whether there is a high risk of having contracted COVID-19 and/or transmitting it to others.

Across the border, NSW reported 38,625 total new cases and 11 deaths in the 24 hours to 8 pm on Thursday, 6 January.

A total of 208 COVID-19 cases have been excluded following further investigation, bringing the total number of cases in NSW since the beginning of the pandemic to 380,361.

There are currently 1738 COVID-19 cases in hospital with 134 people in ICU, with 33 requiring ventilation.

Of people aged above 16 in NSW, 93.6 per cent have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccination.

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Got something to back up this statement “stay away from body building fads” regards a link to COVID deaths?

Deepest condolences to the family. Not sure why someone so young was hit so hard without underlying conditions but serves as a reminder to all of us to lose weight, eat healthy and stay away from body building fads.

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