Health Experts Call For Mask Mandate As NSW Cases Escalate
‘Now is the time to do it’
New South Wales infections continue to hit record levels with 2,501 new infections reported on Monday, a slight drop from Sunday's 2,566 cases.
There are currently 261 people in hospital, while 33 of those are in ICU.
Stay up-to-date on the latest news with The National Briefing - keeping you in the loop with news as it hits.
The new cases were detected from a whooping 144,368 swabs collected on Sunday, in the lead-up to festive celebrations.
As of Monday, more than 93 per cent of eligible people aged over 16 are now fully vaccinated, while 94.9 per cent have received their first dose.
Meantime, with Christmas only days away, Premier Dominic Perrottet has penned an editorial in the Daily Telegraph calling for calm amid the Covid surge.
"Case numbers are bound to rise, just as the modelling predicted, and we are all likely to have a close encounter with COVID," he said.
"This is not to be taken lightly."
"The safety of the community is and always will be our top priority, and if the trajectory of an outbreak appears likely to put our health system under excessive pressure, we will change our approach, tailoring it to the circumstances and the evidence," he said.
"For now, that is not the case."
However, leading epidemiologists and across the country are calling for NSW to reinstate mask mandates as the Omicron strain continues to spread at an alarming rate.
Westmead Hospital Immunologist Dr Daniel Suan told Ten residents need to take COVID safety precautions into their own hands.
"If the government isn't going to mandate it, that's their decision, that's their prerogative, but I'm telling you that the right thing to do and the absolutely essential thing for our communities’ welfare is all to put our masks back on."
- Dr Suan
Leading epidemiologist Professor Nancy Baxter has also thrown her support behind the call to bring masks back in NSW.
“We only abandoned them relatively recently and we know the vaccine is less effective against Omicron but we know things like mask wearing are effective against any variant,” she told Today.
“It doesn’t matter what they are, they protect both the wearer and others from Covid.”
“So now is the time to do it, not in three weeks when the cases skyrocket,” she implored.
Join Tom Tilley with regular rotating co-hosts Jan Fran, Annika Smethurst and Jamila Rizvi on The Briefing, Monday - Saturday, for the day's headlines and breaking news as well as hot topics and interviews. Available on Listnr.