Around 500 schoolies have been flown back to Sydney on charter flights from Byron Bay today, after a COVID-19 outbreak at a caravan park has reportedly resulted in at least 10 people testing positive.
9News reported that schoolies at the Discovery Park Byron Bay were being transported out of the area and back home, as long as they produced a negative rapid antigen test before boarding chartered flights and buses back to Sydney. 9News also reported that the recent graduates were banned from leaving the park to go into the Byron township, and could only leave if they were headed to their homes.
After travelling back home via private transport, the hundreds of schoolies are required to have a PCR test and isolate until they get a negative result.
Anyone who produced a positive result in Byron has been made to isolate at the caravan park, with a 17-year-old schoolie from Gymea telling 2GB she had heard of “at least 10” cases at the park on Friday afternoon.
“We’ve just been told we might be in lockdown so all my friends have booked a flight out of here. I’m still here, my flight is tomorrow,” she said.
“Everyone here says they know someone that’s got it. So I’m thinking… there’s at least 10 that I’ve heard of, but I reckon there’s definitely a lot more.”
Per Sky News, four people had returned a positive result on their PCR tests by Sunday morning, and now have to stay at the park until they get further direction from NSW Health.
Despite NSW recording 2566 new cases on Sunday, Premier Dominic Perrottet is yet to reintroduce mandatory masks in public settings but urged everyone who is eligible to get their booster shot to book in as soon as possible.
Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant. I need to be very clear: vaccines alone will not get any country out of this crisis.
It’s not vaccines instead of masks, distancing, ventilation or hand hygiene.
Do it all. Do it consistently. Do it well. pic.twitter.com/YAVfJXsviQ
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) December 14, 2021
Just because there’s no official requirement to wear a mask, doesn’t mean we cannot continue to wear one at our own discretion. Last week the World Health Organisation Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed it is “not vaccines instead of masks”, and that people need to maintain distance, mask-wearing and hand-washing to protect themselves and others from the emerging Omicron variant.