Isolate NOW: Urgent coronavirus warning for Sydneysiders amid worrying spike in the eastern suburbs – the same day THOUSANDS flocked to the beach as temperatures soared to 26C
- Massive crowds flocked to beaches across Sydney on Sunday to soak in sun despite COVID-19 warnings
- Sydneysiders were quick to head outside after a week of chilly weather as the temperature hit a balmy 26C
- This is despite the state recording seven new coronavirus cases and an outbreak in the nearby Sydney CBD
- NSW Health issued more urgent warnings amid a growing coronavirus cluster in Sydney’s eastern suburbs
- Include a Sydney Buses service between Australia Square and Randwick on night of August 20
An urgent warning has been issued for bus commuters to isolate immediately amid a growing coronavirus cluster in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
Contact tracers are scrambling to track down passengers on the X39 Sydney Buses service that left Pitt Street opposite Australia Square in the CBD at 6.08pm and arrived at Clovelly and Carrington Roads at Randwick at 6.40pm on Thursday August 20 after two commuters later tested positive.
The new health alert came as hundreds flocked to beaches in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Sunday to soak up the 26C sunshine with the start of spring just two days away.
Passengers on the X39 bus between 6.08pm and 6.40pm on August 20 are regarded as close contacts of a case and must immediately isolate until midnight September 3 and be tested, regardless of symptoms.
Hundreds of sunbathers flocked to Sydney beaches on Sunday to soak up the sun despite strict coronavirus warning for the city with the worrying CBD cluster continuing to spread (Coogee Beach pictured)
Up to 11 passengers were on the bus in addition to the two infected commuters.
‘Both cases live and work in the same areas and disembarked at the same spot,’ the health alert states.
‘NSW Health is contacting all registered Opal card users who were on the bus, though one passenger was not registered.’
A previously reported case associated with the August CBD cluster took this bus. The person reported wearing a mask on the bus.
Health officials are investigating the source of the second person’s infection after they tested positive on Friday.
NSW Health used the warning to remind commuters to wear a mask at all times whenever travelling on public transport.
Passengers on the X39 bus between 6.08pm and 6.40pm from Australia Square to Randwick on August 20 must isolate after travelling with two infectious commuters (stock image)
Both infected cases alighted from the bus at the corner of Clovelly and Carrington Roads at Randwick (pictured) at 6.40pm on August 20
Members who used the weights room at Fitness First Randwick between 3.30pm and 4.15pm on Sunday August 23 considered close contacts of a previously reported case and must immediately isolate for 14 days since that date and get tested.
People who were at Randwick Golf Club on between 11.50am-12.20pm last Tuesday (August 25) are considered casual contacts of a previously reported case and should monitor for symptoms.
Commuters who travel on a handful of other bus routes in Sydney’s east have also been told to watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
Anyone who attended Highfield Caringbah pub for more than two hours on 22 August from 6-8.30pm is considered a close contact of a previously reported case and must isolate immediately and seek testing.
NSW Health has reminded commuters to wear masks on public transport following the latest warning issued on Sunday afternoon. Pictured is a Sydney Buses commuter
New South Wales recorded seven new cases of coronavirus on Sunday as the worrying cluster in Sydney’s CBD is continuing to grow
Seven new cases were reported in NSW on Sunday as massive crowds of people flocked to beaches across Sydney on Sunday to enjoy the warm weather.
Five are linked to a known case or cluster, one was from a returned traveller while the other is under investigation
Bondi and Coogee in the city’s eastern suburbs were packed with thousands of people by midday, as were Manly on the northern beaches and Cronulla in the south.
Lifeguards used loudspeaker systems to try and encourage swimmers and sunbakers to practice social distancing but photographs showed crowds packed together like sardines on the shore.
Signs were also erected everywhere reminding everyone of the need to stay 1.5metres apart and wear masks if social distancing is not possible.
Massive crowds flocked to beaches across Sydney on Sunday to soak in sun despite COVID-19 warnings (Bronte Beach pictured)
Police were seen at Coogee Beach dispersing sunseekers after crowds reportedly swelled by 15,000 by lunchtime Sunday.
The feeling on the sand was mixed.
‘Who cares (about covid). It’s just a flu that only kills people who are about to die anyway,’ one beachgoer at Coogee told Daily Mail Australia.
‘We can’t do what that dictator is doing in Melbourne. Sun’s out, guns out. Yeah the boys.’
As the mercury reached 24C at 2pm, another local said she’d seen enough.
‘I’m going home immediately. These people are so irresponsible. It makes my blood boil,’ she said.
‘If just one of them has coronavirus it will be a disaster and we’ll all be back in lockdown next week. Social distancing has gone completely out the window.’
Police also responded to concerns about large crowds at Clovelly, Little Bay and Gordons Bay, where 50-60 beachgoers were having a party, the Daily Telegraph reported.
‘People are being told to move on and no fines have yet been issued,’ a spokesman said.
Social media users slammed the crowds at the beaches, with many saying the behaviour will force the city into lockdown once again (Coogee Beach pictured)
Another local told Daily Mail Australia the beach at Bondi was busy before 10.30am.
‘A couple of hours later it was unbelievably packed,’ she said.
‘It felt as though the past year never happened and people had completely forgotten about this horrific virus that has killed thousands of people around the globe.’
Social media users slammed the crowds at the beaches, with many saying the behaviour will force the city into lockdown once again.
‘Sitting up on the hill at Coogee away from people watching the world go by and feeling like I’m looking at a petrie dish and a lock down in a month,’ one woman wrote on Twitter.
‘No police sighted, only the Chief Lifeguard’s truck.’
‘I think Coogee missed the memo! Packed!’ another wrote.
One user tweeted: ‘Randwick Council beaches are heaving. Looks like Sydney is going to learn the hard way.’
A Waverley Council spokesperson said between 3,000 and 4,000 people had flocked to Bondi on Sunday but social distancing was being adhered to.
‘We’re hoping this continues,’ she said.
Council rangers have been closely monitoring visitors to beaches in Sydney’s east, which became coronavirus hot-spots in March after beachgoers ignored social distancing regulations
Residents in Bondi and Coogee ignored warnings and packed the beachfront with many eager to get outdoors and soak up the sun as winter comes to an end
Sydneysiders were quick to head outside and enjoy the sunshine after a week of chilly weather with temperatures hitting a balmy 25C on Sunday (Bondi Beach pictured)
Lifeguard manager Matt du Plessis said beachgoers were told to keep one beach towel’s distance from each other and everyone had been abiding by the rules.
‘It’s actually been really great – everybody’s abiding health orders,’ Mr du Plessis told news.com.au.
‘It’s been a long winter … I think now everyone understands. We want to keep our beaches open.’
A NSW Health spokeswoman said that Waverley, which covers Bronte to Bondi, remained an area of concern for coronavirus community transmission.
Lifeguards and police were closely monitoring Bondi on Saturday amid fears the crowds would force the local council into shutting down the beach in similar scenes which occurred in March, which saw Bondi off-limits for a month.
At Manly, on Sydney’s northern beaches, the promenade was packed with queues to get into nearby pubs and restaurants as shirtless beachgoers made their way down the strip to the sand.
There were similar scenes further south at Cronulla, which concerned surfers.
‘It is packed on the walkway and in the park. We’re planning to duck down and get straight in the water – we don’t like to mingle,’ Aaron Lagerlow told the Daily Telegraph.
‘The amount of people is a bit of a worry with everything that is going on in the world right now. We surfers we like it when the beaches are empty!’
The return of warm weather has sparked fears the beaches could be once again closed to the public like they were in March when the outbreak began.
Social media users slammed the crowds at the beaches, with many saying the behaviour will force the city into lockdown once again
Worrying images show Bondi Beach packed with locals who seem completely unfazed about the growing cluster in the nearby Sydney CBD
Crowds of people are seen enjoying the warm weather on Sunday at Coogee Beach in Sydney’s east as Twitter users slam their behaviour
Waverley Mayor Paula Masselos is actively warning people to avoid the beach if it looks busy – or risk facing similar consequences from the first lockdown.
‘We need to remember that we are still in a pandemic and we need to adapt our behaviour to that reality,’ Cr Masselos told the Sydney Morning Herald.
‘If you are considering making the trip out to Bondi tomorrow, and the beaches look busy, please come back another time.’
‘The last thing we want to do is to have our close our beaches.’
Waverley Council has employed roving ambassadors who wear shirts reading ‘spread kindness not germs.’
Under New South Wales health guidelines residents are allowed to gather in groups of up to 20 people in public places, including parks and beaches.
But lifeguards are urging beachgoers to try and stay one ‘towel-length’ apart from others and avoid crowding inside the flags.
Beachgoers seen enjoying the sun on Sunday as the temperature reached 25C despite warning from health officials about the spread of COVID-19
The return of warm weather has sparked fears the beaches could be once again closed to the public like they were in March when the outbreak began
People walk along beach path at Manly Beach, north of Sydney, on Sunday ignoring all social distancing rules
Beaches in the Waverley and Randwick local government areas were closed in March after visitors failed to comply with social distancing restrictions.
Bondi and Bronte were closed for four weeks, with those who broke the rules threatened with hefty $1,000 fines.
Nearby beaches Coogee, Clovelly, Maroubra and Malabar were also closed for three weeks.
Manly Beach (pictured) was packed on Sunday despite seven new cases of coronavirus recorded in NSW on Sunday
Lifeguards and police were closely monitoring Bondi (pictured) on Saturday amid fears the crowds would force the local council into shutting down the beach
People who attended the City Tattersalls gym in the Sydney CBD between 8am and 2pm on August 19, 21, 23, 24 and 25 are now considered close contacts and must isolate themselves and get tested immediately.
People who exercised at Virgin Active gyms on Pitt and Margaret Streets between 5pm and 6.40pm on August 25 and 26 are also urged to remain alert.
Authorities are also investigating the source of an infection acquired by a staff member at the Surry Hills Police Cells Complex.
An alert issued by NSW Health said the Health and Forensic Mental Health Network is taking appropriate health and safety measures.
As a precaution, NSW Health has advised people living or working in the Greater Sydney metropolitan area and Central Coast to refrain from visiting aged care facilities until September 12.
The preventative measure to keep the virus from infiltrating nursing homes and affecting the vulnerable elderly residents will mean many will be denied a visit on Father’s Day.
Sun seekers packed on to Manly Beach on Sunday as winter comes to an end with warm temperatures of 24C
Lifeguards used loudspeaker systems to try and encourage swimmers and sunbakers to practice social distancing but photographs showed crowds packed together like sardines (Bronte beach pictured)
There are 66 active COVID-19 cases in the state, including six who are in intensive care, of whom three are on ventilators.
It comes as Melbournians were outraged when people were seen standing shoulder-to-shoulder at Melbourne’s St Kilda beach as warmer weather lured large crowds to the beach over the weekend.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned that Police and Australian Defence Force personnel would be patrolling beaches, but the 18C sunshine on Saturday proved too much of a temptation for long-suffering residents in the midst of lockdown.
Melburnians have been cooped up since July 8 under Stage 4 stay-at-home orders and are only permitted to leave the house between 8am and 5pm for essential reasons like grocery shopping, health appointments, work and exercise.
During that period new daily infections reached a peak of 723 coronavirus cases. On Saturday the number dropped to 94, the lowest day total since July 5. The number jumped to 114 again on Sunday.
Premier Andrews has remained adamant that it is too soon to ease the draconian restrictions.
A number of sun-seekers are pictured at St Kilda beach. Under COVID restrictions, residents are only allowed to travel a 5km radius away from their home
During the lockdown period new daily infections reached a peak of 723 coronavirus cases. But on Saturday, that number dropped 94, the lowest daily totals since July 5
When asked about the weekend’s warm weather forecast at a media conference on Friday, he said: ‘I’m not often disappointed in a good forecast, but I am a bit about that.’
He urged Victorians to follow the health officer’s directions and not flout the rules by heading to the beach unnecessarily.
‘We need to defeat this properly now… I’m not admonishing, I’m appealing please despite the lovely weather forecast please let’s all make positive decisions, Mr Andrews said.
‘Please don’t make any choices that would contribute to the spread of this virus.’
However on Saturday, he had eased his tone ever so slightly and he acknowledge crowds and gatherings could soon be part of Victoria’s ‘new COVID normal’.
‘I think our COVID normal can involve some crowds, but that will be a matter of medical advice,’ Mr Andrews said.
He added that the size of crowds would have to be determined by ‘how successful we are defeating the virus’.
‘It is very, very difficult to plan ahead. It’s very difficult to bring certainty to something that travels so quickly,’ he said.
‘Certainly even at 94 cases, we are not able to open up now and we are not able to open up now and we are not able to provide a detailed road map with the sort of certainty that I would want.’
‘The numbers need to be lower than they are now.’