News Coronavirus NSW posts 21,030 virus cases, 29 deaths
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NSW posts 21,030 virus cases, 29 deaths

NSW COVID-19
NSW and Victoria have dropped isolation rules for household contacts of people with COVID-19. Photo: AAP
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NSW has added 21,030 new infections to its COVID-19 caseload along with 29 more virus-related deaths.

Two years after the first COVID-19 cases were recorded in Australia, the state surpassed one million coronavirus cases on Wednesday according to data that includes rapid antigen test results.

The total number of cases reported in the 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday night included 8112 from positive RATs, and 12,918 from PCR results.

Some 7416 RAT results were from tests taken in the last seven days.

Half of those cases were added in the last two weeks and more than 90 per cent of them in the last two months after international travellers unknowingly brought the highly infectious Omicron variant into the country.

Premier Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday announced that mask restrictions, density limits, and dancing restrictions were here to stay for another month, scrapping the plan for more freedoms come Thursday.

He said extending the restrictions to February 28 was the “right approach” to help suppress the Omicron spread as children returned to classrooms from next week.

“It’s better to have the two-square-metre rule than no square-metre rules and not having the confidence in the community to go out to restaurants and bars,” Mr Perrottet said.

Under the continuing restrictions, hospitality venues including pubs, nightclubs and cafes will keep an indoor density limit, masks are required in all indoor settings except homes and QR code check-ins are compulsory at certain premises, including hospitality venues and shops.

The premire said the decision would reassure the public that bars, cafes and retail were safe to visit.

“I believe the maintenance of these measures … will actually drive economic activity, not impede it,” he said.

Singing and dancing also remain banned in hospitality and entertainment venues except for performers.

Mr Perrottet acknowledged that was a pain for young people and some businesses, but his priority remained children returning to classrooms safely and resuming non-urgent elective surgery in mid-February.

Non-urgent elective surgery was suspended on January 8, after resuming on November 15 following the Delta lockdown.

Some 2,794 people are in hospital with the virus, with 175 of them requiring intensive care.

The number of people admitted to hospital on Wednesday dropped from the record-high of 2943 on Tuesday, as well as those in ICU down from 183.

NSW Health reported 18,512 new cases on Tuesday — a rise of 3421 — but the seven-day average lowered to 23,100.

Mr Perrottet has promised that businesses reeling from the effects of the Omicron wave will get fresh support within a week.

– AAP