Update: 06.15 pm, March 23
NSW health announced that “several” backpackers have been infected with COVID-19 after major beaches were closed due to hundreds ignoring public warnings.
“There were two recent parties that some of the cases attended where the cases may have acquired their infections,” a statement read.
Those parties were Boogie Wonderland at the Bucket List at Bondi Beach and another at Club 77 in Darlinghurst.
***Important Information***We have been informed by NSW Health that several guests who attended a party at Club 77 on…
Update: 2.15pm, March 21
The Berejiklian government has made the move to close beaches across Sydney.
In the first instance, Waverley Council has temporarily closed Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama beaches with the NSW government enforcing restrictions on crowds (500 or more) and asking lifeguards to withdraw from their posts.
“What we saw this morning at Bondi Beach was the most irresponsible behaviour of individuals that we’ve seen so far,” NSW Police Minister David Elliott said during the press conference.
“It is with a significant level of disappointment that we have to move today to not only remove people from Bondi Beach but use this as an opportunity to remind everybody that the Health Act must be complied with.
“This is not something we’re doing because we’re the fun police, this is not something the government is doing to make life easy. This is about saving lives.”
Update: 1pm, March 21
Following images of a packed Bondi Beach yesterday, the Berejiklian government is making moves to shut down the beach to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Sydney Morning Herald reports a government spokesperson confirmed the news on Saturday afternoon. A press conference is scheduled for 2pm.
The time has passed for Australians to start taking this seriously.
Stay. At. Home.
On Friday March 20, Sydney experienced a late-March heatwave that saw temperatures rise up to 33 degrees.
And even though we are in the middle of a global health pandemic, thousands of Australians and tourists took to Bondi Beach, ignoring calls to practice social distancing.
While ordinarily, flocking to one of the most famous beaches in the world on a beautiful day would be a normal thing to do, many took to social media, furious that people were recklessly disobeying the government’s strict advice on social distancing and self-isolation.
Ben Davies, the creator of Network Ten’s Bondi Rescue and former casual lifeguard at Bondi Beach told TheLatch— that the past few days had been “the most crowded” he’d seen for a mid-week in March.
“I’ve grown up at that beach and I spent much of my life on that beach, so I know it intimately,” he said. “And that was the most crowded March afternoon I’ve ever seen in all my life.”
“In even heatwave conditions in late March, it’s unseasonal for those sorts of crowds, and it’s all due to the coronavirus,” he added.
Davies put the large crowds down to people “supposedly working from home, loss of jobs, self-isolation or not going into the city [for work]” — and admitted that the number of rescues had increased for this time of year, with one day seeing twenty-five.
“Twenty-five is not an unusual amount of rescues to do in a day,” he said. “On a crazy day they [Bondi Lifeguards] can do two or 300 just on a jetski alone, but there are days when there are none and for March mid-week, that’s a lot.”
A meme that has been doing the rounds on social media, portrays the grim outlook that Australia could be facing.
“Italy three weeks ago: 229 confirmed cases of COVID-19, Australia now: 876 confirmed cases [at the time of its publication]. Italy Not: 41,035 cases and 3,405 death,” it read, followed by: “Bondi Beach now” and a photographed of a packed beach.
At the time of publication, 849 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed across Australia, with seven deaths in total.
The Government has now advised that people are required to stay at least a metre and a half apart to help flatten the curve and curb the spread of the virus.
Strict measures had been imposed on indoor gatherings and Australian borders have been shut to non-residents and non-citizens.
Those who are Australian citizens and are arriving home from overseas also must quarantine themselves for 14 days.
Bondi Rescue returns for its 15th season on Wednesday at 7.30 pm on Network Ten.
The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.