NYE pash ban: ‘Don’t kiss or cuddle strangers’
A MIDNIGHT smooch or hug for New Year's Eve revellers is off the table as Queensland's health authorities urge the state to not "randomly kiss or cuddle strangers".
Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young on Tuesday urged partygoers to adhere to COVID guidelines as they say goodbye to an unprecedented year.
Dr Young said to limit kissing or cuddling to known close friends and family.
"We all like on New Year's Eve to give the closest person a kiss or cuddle," she said.
"I would suggest you limit that to your known close friends and family and don't randomly kiss and cuddle strangers that might be there at New Year's Eve.
"Make sure you know who you're interacting with so again if we need to we can contact people who have had any close contact."
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday asked partygoers for "absolute restraint", with NYE celebrations potentially being a "super-spreading event".
It comes as Queensland has reported the nation's first confirmed case of the new and potentially more contagious South African strain of the virus.
University of Queensland Infectious Diseases and microbiologist Associate Professor Paul Griffin said regardless of the new strain, the virus can be controlled by people continuing to adhere to COVID restrictions and advice into the New Year.
He said over NYE celebrations Queenslanders should limit physical contact with anyone wherever possible.
"Wherever practical, adhere to social distancing, make sure they adhere to restrictions at whatever venue they're at, practice really good hand hygiene, and basically wherever possible limit physical contact with anyone that you can," he said.
"If it's a first degree relative, someone you live with, it's perfectly acceptable to have contact but outside of that whether its hugging or kissing or handshaking, I think it would be better to avoid any physical contact with anyone outside your immediate family if possible.
"That's just going to have to be what we consider as the new normal for at least some time to come.
"If people are unwell, while it may be disappointing, they certainly need to get tested and stay home till they get those results."
Originally published as NYE pash ban: 'Don't kiss or cuddle strangers'