Relief for Sydney: COVID restrictions eased
Harsh restrictions introduced during the Avalon COVID-19 cluster will be eased from on Friday after 10 straight days without a locally acquired case of the virus.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian met with her COVID-19 committee this morning before announcing a raft of changes.
Up to 30 visitors will be allowed in homes, outdoor gatherings of 50 people will be permitted, and caps on weddings and funerals will be lifted to 300 people from 12.01am on Friday.
Hospitality venues will operate without caps under the four square metre rule.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has suggested that if we continue to see "zero to low" case numbers and testing remains high, settings where the four square metre rule applies will revert to the two square metre rule within two weeks.
Masks will remain compulsory on public transport, at hair and beauty salons and for hospitality workers. They will no longer be mandatory in retail shops but are strongly encouraged.
The easing of restrictions comes just days after revellers celebrated Australia Day with mass gatherings and parties but the Premier maintained on Wednesday that outdoor gatherings were less of risk.
"You are more likely to get the virus in a household setting. The last couple of cases we have in the Berala cluster was six people in the one household got the virus," she said.
"So we know that throughout households, through indoor settings where there is no ventilation the virus is more likely to spread very quickly. Outdoor settings are less contagious."
No new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were detected in NSW in the 24 hours to 8pm Tuesday as the daily numbers of tests processed rose slightly to 9,723.
The state has now recorded 10 days in a row with no community transmission.
Fragments of the COVID virus have been detected in the Liverpool sewage treatment plant with anyone living or working in the area urged to get tested if they have any symptoms.
Two new cases were detected in returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
PREMIER'S SWIPE AT LIBERAL COLLEAGUE
Ms Berejiklian also took a veiled swipe at fellow Liberal Craig Kelly for sharing views about COVID-19 that some medical experts have labelled misinformation.
However she declined to criticise the federal MP, saying "he is not in my team".
Pressed on the ABC about Mr Kelly's views, including that "compulsory mask mandates" amount to "child abuse," Ms Berejiklian said: "all of us should always follow the health advice".
However she said questions about Mr Kelly's views should be put to others, as he is a federal, not state, MP.
Asked if she had a "view" on "the misinformation (Craig Kelly) is spreading," Ms Berejiklian said: "you should always base the actions you take based on health advice".
"I don't think any of us should waste our time on people who express opinions not based on evidence," she said.
Defending his opinions on masks on Facebook on Monday, Mr Kelly said he has argued that "FORCING (sic) children to wear masks for EXTENDED PERIODS (sic) causes them significant physical & psychological harm".
Overnight the MP posted about a handful of articles promoting the use of anti-parasitic treatment Ivermectin to treat COVID symptoms.
A research study published in The Lancet last week found patients with non-severe COVID who received the anti-parasitic drug had a reduction in symptoms but there was "no difference in the proportion of PCR positives".
Originally published as Relief for Sydney: COVID restrictions eased