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Australia's New South Wales bans recorder recitals, school choirs to curb spread of COVID-19

Australia's New South Wales bans recorder recitals, school choirs to curb spread of COVID-19

Children attend their first day of New South Wales public schools fully re-opening for all students and staff amidst the easing of COVID-19 restrictions at Homebush West Public School in Sydney, Australia on May 25, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Loren Elliott)

SYDNEY: Children will be banned from playing the recorder and singing in school choirs across Australia's most populous state in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19, authorities said Monday (Aug 17). 

With infections hitting several Sydney schools, authorities in New South Wales moved to prohibit choirs and wind ensembles from Wednesday.

READ: Australia's Victoria reports deadliest day of pandemic with 25 fatalities, new cases steady

"All group singing and/or other chanting activities, as well as the use of wind instruments in group settings, are not permitted," the local education authority said.

That includes the recorder - a gateway to instrument playing for many small children - while dancing will also be off-limits.

"School formals, dances, graduation or other social events are not permitted," the New South Wales education department added.

Although public schools in Sydney and the rest of New South Wales have reopened after initial lockdowns, authorities said the new measures would help them operate in the "safest ways possible".

Australia is currently battling to contain a number of coronavirus outbreaks after months of near-zero local transmission.

The country's second-largest city, Melbourne, is in lockdown and still reporting hundreds of new cases daily, although the number is decreasing.

READ: 'Inexcusable': Australian inquiry blasts officials over cruise ship that spread COVID-19

Many of Melbourne's infections have been linked to aged care homes - where death rates are rising following a peak in cases over the last two weeks.

Australia has recorded more than 23,000 cases of COVID-19 and 421 fatalities so far in the pandemic.

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Source: AFP/ad

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