Restrictions return in NSW as hospitalisations, ICU admissions increase

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
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NSW will re-introduce density limits and QR code check-ins in most indoor settings in an effort to gain control of the COVID-19 outbreak sweeping the state.

Masks are also back, and will be required in indoor settings from midnight tonight.

NSW recorded 5,715 cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, including 136 from the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.

There are currently 347 COVID-19 cases admitted to hospital, with 45 people in intensive care, 13 of whom require ventilation.

Testing numbers are high but the system is under immense pressure with locals reporting waiting days for results, while some testing sites are closing early.

As of midnight tonight, masks will be required in indoor settings.

From Boxing Day, the two square metre rule will return in hospitality settings until January 27. QR code check-ins in most indoor settings are now also back.

“We’re also encouraging people not to mingle,” Mr Perrottet said.

Earlier, Opposition Leader Chris Minns said it was common sense for a mask mandate to return.

“It’s a common sense initiative recommended by the experts, recommended by the Federal Government’s Chief Health Officer, many other jurisdictions in the country and most countries around the world, particularly in confined spaces, are recommending masks,” he said.

“The government itself is telling the people of New South Wales to wear masks. It’s not as if it’s a situation where they’re not recommending that individuals do it. They are suggesting that they take on that responsibility. We’re saying for the sake of retail workers, in order to slow down the spread of the Omicron variant, in order to protect our public health system, mandate masks in New South Wales before the Premier goes on holidays in the next few days.”

Mr Perrottet said early indications from health experts were that the Omicron variant was five times less severe than Delta.

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