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The answer to a key question amid Greater Sydney's coronavirus lockdown has sparked confusion over what is allowed under the strict rules.
A reporter asked Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Wednesday whether the government would allow a singles bubble for those living alone and do not have an intimate partner.
Under the current rules, partners who do not live together are permitted to visit each other's homes under the exemption of compassion.
However it has not been made clear whether people could establish a singles bubble like in Melbourne's strict Covid lockdown last year.
Mr Hazzard did not state whether or not singles could create a bubble, saying he would "prefer" if they could exercise together outdoors.
"It's about keeping people safe," he said.
"If they can be outside and go for a walk, that is better ... you are far safer from getting the virus outside.
"If that's not possible, I guess the advice has been, if you're going into someone's house for care and compassion and you are one person visiting, do it out on the balcony or out in the garden.
"Apply whatever you think would be the safest way to try and do it in an open-air environment."
Confusion over singles bubble rule
People on Twitter expressed confusion over the answer to the question following Wednesday morning's Covid briefing.
"Sorry, but what was just spoken about [regarding] singles visiting each other in a bubble isn't consistent with current advice," they said.
"This is so confusing. As a single person living alone, who the hell am I able to see? I’m a healthcare worker and I can’t even work it out."
"The singles bubble question was well-asked and badly answered," another said.
With lockdown again extended for another two weeks until July 30, people on Twitter said it was tough for those living alone.
"The government is advising singles to 'exercise together'. Pretty tough for people who live alone in a 35-day lockdown," one wrote.
Dr Chant: local health districts are in charge of PPE advice
Q: singles bubbles?
Dr Chant: partners can visit each other
Q: what about single people?
Minister: 2 people can exercise together outdoors
Q: can 2 single people get a visiting bubble?
Minister: (basically no)
— Dr Zuleyka Zevallos (@OtherSociology) July 14, 2021
"I cannot express how much the singles bubble improved my mental health in the [Victorian] lockdown last year. It is unconscionable that NSW, in an extended lockdown, is not allowing the same now," another said.
"Organise a permitted singles bubble and I am not talking about intimate relationships. My son lives alone, I live alone – we are both on the North Shore. Why can’t we be a bubble?" a third said.
Yahoo News Australia has contacted NSW Health for clarification on the rule.
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