The streets of Sydney were silent overnight, but it was a different story hours earlier, with pictures revealing large crowds at Bondi Beach despite the city experiencing its first lockdown in six months. It comes after multiple warnings from the vice president of Australia’s peak medical body that the Delta variant lurking across the country ” has outrun contact tracers” as the Bondi cluster grew to 110 with 30 new cases of Covid-19 reported in the state on Sunday.
Five million residents across Greater Sydney and its surrounding regions were placed into a two-week lockdown from 6 pm Saturday as health officials race to contain the variant’s highly infectious spread. While officials hope the lockdown will prevent the spread, Australian Medical Association (AMA) Vice President Dr. Chris Moy has spoken to numerous publications over the weekend, claiming lockdown should have come earlier. Residents in areas across inner Sydney and beyond, including the Blue Mountains, Wollongong, and Central Coast, are under stay-at-home restrictions that are in place until July 9.
“We’ve been the victims of our success so far because, to some degree, there’s been a level of complacency, and we’ve been living in a very gilded cage, a Truman Show, Jim Carrey-type world where we’ve been very disconnected,” Dr. Moy told SBS News.
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“The lockdown here is required; whether the decision should have been made earlier, it should likely have, and we will look back at that. “It may have spread more widely.” As states and territories brace over fears of a national outbreak, Dr. Moy told the SMH that Australia is going through “a cross-country seeding event, that’s as simple as that”.
“It’s’ beaten the NSW contact tracers, and the reliance on contact tracers and holding out [on introducing a lockdown] for a few days has led to seeding across the country,” he told the publication.
Simmering tensions over Bondi Beach crowds
It comes as debate heats over the large crowds at Bondi Beach as NSW Health sent a reminder on Suseveralof ” its advice for several key venues of concern across Sydney” — three of five of which were in Bondi. Police revealed 17 infringement notices were issued on Sunday and warned lockdown rules would be enforced.
“More people were breaching on the beach than there were getting covid tested,” 7 News” Robert Ovadia said, describing it as “ground zero for the outbreak that’s’ forced us all into lockdown”. A man and woman from Sydney’s eastern suburbs were among those issued $1000 fines after they ” failed to comply with the Public Health Order at Bondi Beach,” police said in a statement.
Police arrived at the beach at around 10 am” after reports multiple people breached the current Public Health Orders. “Upon arrival, police observed several people sitting on a grassed area between Campbell Parade and Queen Elizabeth Drive. “Officers spoke to these people and issued them directions to leave the area, which they complied with.”
But then, police spotted the 35-year-old man, and 29-year-old woman return to the beach. “Both were issued with Penalty Infringement Notices for failure to comply with the noticed direction about section 7/8/9 – COVID-19 – individual (other than face-covering breaches).
“Police continue to appeal to the community to abide by the public health behavior report suspected breaches of or any behavior which may impact the health and safety of the community.” Centennial Park, Hyde Park, and Manly were also highlighted as areas of concern.
Under NSW’s rules, residents are allowed to leave home for four outdoor reasons: “exercise and take outdoor recreation in Greater Sydney,” but not in groups of more than 10. “In the regions that we’ve’ outlined, in no more than groups of 10, you can gather outside for the recreational exercise,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian outlined on Saturday afternoon.
“When you are outdoors in groups of 10, make sure that you maintain a good social distance and follow the health instructions.” But residents have been criticized for not listening to the advice in the new age of fleeting transmission. “This is a different beast,” Dr. Moy told the SMH.
“You’ve got to go hard at this: really, that’s’ your best chance.” Professor Kerryn Phelps tweeted, “It does not seem to be being taken seriously”. On Friday, AMA President Dr. Omar Khorshid said the Delta strain “is different. “It is being transmitted far more easily,y and everyone have acknowledged this. Sydney has not faced this before,e and this means a different approach is required.”