Dr. Kerry Chant, the Chief Health Officer in New South Wales, Australia, told citizens to avoid talking to each other, even if they are masked and vaccinated, because talking could spread COVID-19.
During a July 19 press conference to announce new COVID-19 related lockdown measures in the New South Wales town of Orange, Chant said, “Whilst it’s human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly, unfortunately this is not the time to do that.”
“So even if you run into your next-door neighbor in the shopping center, in the Coles, whilst you’re at Coles or Aldi or any other grocery shop, don’t start up a conversation,” Chant continued. “Now is the time for minimizing your interactions with others. Even if you’ve got a mask, do not think that affords total protection. We want to be absolutely sure that, as we go about our daily lives, we do not come into contact with anyone who could pose a risk.”
Canberra Times reported Chant further advised people to “do everything” to limit movement and interactions outside their house, including deferring their non-essential healthcare.
The day before Chant’s remarks, a woman in her 50s died following a COVID infection.
Chant said the woman and her sons were offered alternate care facilities but chose to remain home and received at-home care. The woman’s sons were charged the week earlier with breaching COVID-19 restrictions after they allegedly traveled within New South Wales to work with a moving service while they were aware they had also tested positive with COVID-19.
During the same press conference, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said if business owners try to skirt new COVID-19 restrictions in the Australian state and call in their employees to work, those employees should report their bosses to the authorities “unless it is not reasonably practicable.”
The lockdown measures Chant and Berejiklian came days before authorities in the Australian state called in around 300 Australian Defense Force (ADF) soldiers to help enforce COVID lockdown measures in parts of Sydney.
The ADF troops assisted Police in New South Wales as they began knocking on thousands of doors throughout Sydney, starting on Aug. 2.
The lockdown rules include a mask mandate, even for some outdoor places. People may leave their homes to get groceries and medicine or to go to hospitals. Only one person per household is permitted to leave their home per day to get groceries. People are allowed to go to school or work only if they cannot work and study from home. People may go outdoors to exercise but are not allowed to travel more than 10k from their homes (about 6 miles).
Under the lockdown rules, people in greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong cannot travel to other areas in New South Wales. People outside of greater Sydney also cannot enter greater Sydney except for a funeral or memorial service, or for goods or services if those goods or services are not reasonably available outside of the greater Sydney area. People over the age of 18 leaving the greater Sydney area must also carry evidence showing their address and be prepared to provide it to police.