New COVID-19 rates and restrictions have been announced today, including the suspension of non-urgent elective surgeries and a ban on singing and dancing in hospitality venues, entertainment facilities, and major recreation facilities.

Hunter New England Health has reported 15 new COVID-19 cases from the Narrabri Shire (or for people with a Narrabri Shire address) as of 8pm last night.

The total number of reported cases from Narrabri Shire is now 347.

NSW recorded 38,625 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

HNELHD is reporting a total of 2,430 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the region to 8pm last night.

Of the 18,821 total active cases, 99 are receiving care in our hospitals and eleven are in ICU.

“Sadly, we are reporting the deaths of two men, one in his 80s from the Lake Macquarie area and the other in his 70s from the Port Stephens area,” said HNELHD in a media statement.

“Our sincere condolences go out to their family and friends.

“From Monday January 10, COVID-19 vaccinations are available for children aged 5 years and older.

“Children in this cohort receive a third of a normal dose and require two vaccinations eight weeks apart.

“Masks are mandatory in all non-residential indoor settings, and we strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask in any situation where they cannot socially distance,” said HNELHD in a media statement.

The NSW government today announced new rules in some social settings and “a range of precautionary measures” it says will provide additional support for the health system and community ahead of an anticipated peak in COVID cases later this month.

“These adjustments will allow us to continue to live with Covid and manage the pandemic in a measured and considered way,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said.

From January 8-27, singing and dancing will be prohibited in hospitality venues, including pubs, clubs, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, entertainment facilities, and major recreation facilities.

This prohibition will not apply for weddings, or for students and instructors and performers in the settings listed above.

Major events scheduled for the coming weeks will be risk-assessed by NSW Health and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Event organisers should assume their event will proceed unchanged unless they are contacted by NSW Health to advise otherwise.

The NSW government is continuing to encourage people to take extra precautions to reduce their risk of contracting Covid-19:

  • People are asked to continue to use common sense in limiting large household gatherings and gather outdoors where possible; and
  • the Government also recommends people stay seated when drinking in hospitality venues.

Premier Perrottet said NSW had met and overcome many challenges over the past two years and dealing with the latest strain was no different.

“We’re dealing with a highly transmissible variant but fortunately it appears to be a much less severe form of COVID-19 and our high vaccination rates are clearly helping to keep people safe,” Mr Perrottet said.

“I want to thank our health care workers for their dedication and professionalism, not only now but during two very hard years.

“To alleviate pressure on the hospital system and staff, we’re extending the usual holiday suspension of non-urgent elective surgery through to February and will utilise private hospital capacity where needed, as we did during the Alpha and Delta outbreaks.

“Public health orders will also be updated next week to include a requirement that people report their positive Rapid Antigen Test results, linking those impacted with health support and advice about how they can manage their symptoms from home.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the best way to keep communities safe is through the booster program.

“Anybody for whom vaccination was mandatory already, will now have boosters mandated,” Mr Hazzard said.

“This means for people working in particular settings to be classified as fully vaccinated, they will now need to have had three shots.

“Boosters provide additional protection not only for you, but for your colleagues, loved ones and community.”


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