[News] What schoolies should do to minimise COVID-19 risk as virus wave builds

Experts are calling for school-leavers to take some simple precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 during this year’s Schoolies events.

The 2022 Schoolies celebrations are the first for two years relatively unhampered by COVID restrictions, after the official 2020 events were cancelled and the events in 2021 saw numbers significantly down on previous years.

This year it’s already predicted numbers will surge to levels not seen since at least 2018, with an estimated 25,000 school-leavers expected to descend on the Gold Coast alone, not to mention other hotspots on the Sunshine Coast, Byron Bay in NSW and even Fiji and Bali.

However, the event is also coinciding with a fresh wave of COVID-19 cases, with health authorities predicting the peak of the wave sometime in early to mid-December.

That puts the teenagers gathering in large-scale events at higher than usual risk for contracting COVID-19, however experts say a few simple precautions can lower that risk significantly.

Griffith University infectious diseases expert Professor Nigel McMillan said the fact that the majority of official Schoolies events were outdoors would help reduce the spread of viruses, but some sensible precautions could also help.

Simple measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 at Schoolies 2022

  • If sick, don’t go out. 
  • If vulnerable, or to help protect those vulnerable, wear an N95 mask.
  • Hand washing and general hygene
  • Choose outdoor activities and events over indoor activities.
  • Stay up to date with booster shots you are eligible for.

“If you’re in a crowded situation and you feel uncomfortable, then just move away from that situation, if you feel someone near you is sick and coughing, maybe move to the back of the crowd,” he said.

“For those Schoolies who are over 18 they will be in pubs and clubs, which is more of a risk for the spread of the virus, outdoor activities are preferable to indoor activities.”

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