• Mon. Oct 24th, 2022

With Santa Claus just hours away, politicians use their final press conference before Christmas Day to outline this year’s dos and don’ts.

Dec 24, 2020

Australia is about to have a Christmas like no other, especially for those in Sydney grappling with the northern beaches COVID-19 outbreak.
While just nine new cases were announced on Christmas Eve, NSW health authorities are drumming home the need to stay safe.
And despite Queensland recording 100 consecutive days without a locally transmitted case, Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young believes the virus is in the community.
Several positive cases in quarantine coupled with strains of the virus found in sewage across Queensland has the state’s top doctor on high alert.
With Santa Claus just hours away, politicians took their final press conference before Christmas Day to outline this year’s dos and don’ts.
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Keep your gatherings small
People travelling to multiple locations while COVID-19 is circulating in the community is a major concern for authorities.
A massive movement of people can lead to the virus spreading quicker.
NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant urged people on Thursday to limit their movement over the Christmas period.
“We are really asking people to limit your mobility, limit your gatherings to the key people that you need to see because that is important to you, and if you can delay those please, do,” she said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said not to move around “unless you have to”.
“It is really important to reduce your mobility, limit your activity to those close family gatherings, don’t do anything you don’t need to do,” she said.
“If you are in contact with people, make sure you are socially distancing.”
Take it outside
Dr Chant encouraged people to go alfresco for their Christmas feasts.
“Preference outdoor settings,” she said.
“So, if you are hosting a Christmas dinner for your small group of family, please see if you have got a veranda or an outdoor area where people can congregate.
“We know that those areas are much safer than indoor environments.”
Moving the party outdoors lowers the risk of spreading the virus.(Supplied: Zilla Gordon)
Pair a mask with your Christmas hat
No matter how small your party, make sure to keep up with hygiene measures.
Ms Berejiklian says people should wear face masks while indoors and regularly wash their hands.
“We need everybody to be extra COVID safe over the next few days,” she said.
“Don’t let these celebrations or the Christmas activities reduce the necessary nature in which we have to be on guard.
“If you are in an indoor setting please make sure you are wearing a mask and make sure you are wearing hand sanitiser at all times.”
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Keep hugs to your household
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Usually there’s a lot of hugs and kisses from excited relatives at Christmas gatherings, but that makes health authorities nervous.
Cuddling someone you don’t see often increases the risk of spreading the virus.
Dr Young said it was especially risky for older people.
“Your close relatives are people who live in your household. I would not be doing [hugging] in broader groups,” she said.
“I just think that is a risk that is not necessary.
“It is the time to think how best you can keep your older relatives, your most vulnerable relatives safe.”
Get tested even on Christmas Day
If you’ve got any symptoms, now’s not the time to wait to get tested.
Both press conferences from NSW and Queensland emphasised that testing clinics would be open over the next week.
Victoria announced there would be testing sites available over the Christmas period, however, they will be less staffed while some have closed.
Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak
Queensland’s Health Minister Yvette D’Ath urged people to watch for symptoms and get tested immediately if they noticed any.
“A message on this Christmas Eve is that we encourage you to get tested and stay at home if you are unwell,” she said.
“We want to make sure that everyone knows there is testing available over the Christmas period because as much as we all want this to be over, when we wake up on January 1 we will still be living with COVID.”
‘Isolation means isolation’
Even though NSW announced a series of “modest changes” to the restrictions for the Christmas period, the rules haven’t changed for people under quarantine and isolation orders.
If you’re in quarantine, you can’t leave just because it’s Christmas.
“Please do not have visitors into your home if you are in isolation,” Dr Chant said.
“Isolation means isolation and it is critical that we don’t see any inadvertent transmission from people and isolation.
“I know this is a challenging time of year and if other loved ones could please reach out to people in isolation and use technology, phones and other means to really support them, because they are doing the hard yards in protecting you, their loved ones and the broader community.”
If you know someone who has been ordered to isolate, make sure to check in on them and send some virtual cheer.
And you can always make plans for a delayed Christmas celebration once they’re out of isolation it’s a great excuse to stretch out the festive season!
Dr Chant encouraged people to keep in touch with loved ones in lockdown.(Pexels: Andrea Piacquadio)
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