“Several” Bondi backpackers have tested positive for COVID-19, NSW Health has confirmed, a day after the iconic beach was closed in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
The beach has become a battleground for social distancing recommendations in recent days as cooped-up Sydneysiders flock to area.
“Several new diagnoses of COVID-19 have been made in backpackers in the Bondi area,” the department said in a statement.
“There were two recent parties that some of the cases attended where the cases may have acquired their infections.”
NSW Health identified the venues as Club 77 in Darlinghurst and The Bucket List at the Bondi Pavillion, which the backpackers in question visited on the evening of Sunday, March 15.
“People who also attended these parties should be on alert for symptoms of COVID-19 and immediately isolate themselves if any symptoms develop,” the department said.
Bondi Beach was closed on Saturday, March 21, after heaps of people visited in defiance of the government’s ban on outdoor gatherings greater than 500 people.
The closure, intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, was expanded to include Coogee, Maroubra and many more beaches on Sunday. Police have been called to enforce the restrictions at several locations.
The public’s disregard for social distancing measures was addressed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday.
“What happened at Bondi Beach yesterday was not OK, and serves as a message to federal and state leaders that too many Australians are not taking these issues seriously enough,” he said.
The new coronavirus cases in the area confirm that there is a real risk, and that people should avoid crowded public gatherings, even if it’s perfect beach weather.