Crowds tend to have defied social distancing steps in Sydney’s Northern Beaches as health officials turn up their anti-coronavirus warnings.
They turned out to be in action on Friday morning from Manly to Freshwater and Curl Curl to take full advantage of yet another warm Autumn morning for a swim to catch up with mates — violating the government’s ban on more than two people’s public gatherings.
Manly’s southern end was closed last weekend, as were other beaches and reserves in the Northern Beaches after huge crowds of people in some places were seen gathering.
Police in NSW have received hundreds of $1,000 fines on – the-spot for such violations. Yet people on the northern beaches were apparently unconcerned that they flouted the stringent rules, sat on group surfboards and walked together in large groups.
On Friday the number of confirmed NSW COVID-19 infections reached 2,389, with 91 new cases in the last 24 hours. The death toll of the state is 11, which is 40 per cent of the 26 COVID-19 deaths in Australia.
On Monday the beaches were reopened, urging crowds to follow the 1.5 m social distancing law.
Yet the council will track the beaches, and they will close if they exceed the capacity of 500 visitors.
The northern beaches, sometimes alluded to by many sydneysiders as ‘The Insular Peninsular,’ have the second-highest number of cases of coronavirus in NSW. There are 124 instances of COVID-19 there, just second to Waverley who has 151.
A concerning 18 cases had an unexplained cause of illness on the Northern beaches. NSW Health published the data as of April 1st on 8 pm.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said community transmission was the main challenge and stressed that everyone wanted social distancing interventions to be achieved.
“Every minute of the day, exercise social distancing, hand grooming, cough etiquette,” Murphy said Friday.
“We can’t let someone break the rules, be dumb, be cavalier and don’t take anything seriously.”
The rules are in effect for 90 days before the end of June, Commissioner Mick Fuller said.
Yet the rules appeared unfazed to people of the northern beaches as they clustered together in groups and refused to maintain a 1.5 meter gap from other beach-goers.