Covid 19 coronavirus: Sydney beach crowds threaten end to lockdown as NSW records 16 new cases

New South Wales has recorded 16 new community cases of Covid-19, 14 of which are linked to previously confirmed cases.

This brings the total number of cases in Sydney’s outbreak to 277, with 222 linked to the Bondi cluster.

Of those new cases, 13 were in isolation throughout their infectious periods and one case was in isolation for part of their infectious period.

Two cases were infectious in the community.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said while it was “pleasing” to see the daily case numbers dropping, she said numbers could still “bounce around”.

She warned people defying lockdown restrictions could lead to an unwanted rise in cases.

“We’ve seen in the last few days how easy it is for people to unintentionally do the wrong thing, or intentionally do the wrong thing, and that can result in more cases, which is something we don’t want to see,” Berejiklian said.

“But what we are seeing is that the transmission now occurring in households, or within households.

Berejiklian said the “next few days are absolutely critical” to seeing cases continue to drop.

“To keep that trend going, we need to make sure people don’t give in and don’t break those rules we’ve put in place,” she said.

Sydney beach crowds threaten end to lockdown

Crowds packed beaches and parks across Sydney yesterday, as thousands of residents gathered outside to take advantage of the warm weather.

Despite the lockdown rules explicitly stating that anyone out in these areas must be there for an essential reason, such as exercise, the sunny day proved too tempting, prompting many to test the boundaries of the stay-at-home order.

With another sunny day on the cards today, there are concerns many people may once again defy lockdown orders to soak up the sun, raising fears about what it could mean for the Greater Sydney lockdown.

Sydney’s Centennial Park was packed with cars and people on Saturday. One visitor told reporters it was “mayhem” and she had “never seen it so busy”.

Bondi Beach was packed with people strolling along the promenade and others on the beach and in the water. Crowds were seen ignoring social distancing guidelines outside a Bondi venue.

At Shark Beach in Nielsen Park people were seen sunbathing, sleeping and reading books, according to The Daily Telegraph, in clear defiance of signs that said no sitting was permitted.

In Redfern Park and Double Bay, training groups were seen working in close proximity, while others ballooned past the 10-person limit.

At Flemington Markets, people crowded in to do their Saturday morning shopping, while a resident reported that at Darling Square, “every outdoor table and bench is full”, and that Sydney Park was “packed like a normal Saturday”.

There is a lot of speculation about whether the Greater Sydney lockdown will end on time or whether it will be extended past July 9.

Associate Professor at the University of Sydney Centre for International Security Studies, Adam Kamradt-Scott, believes there is a certain trigger point NSW’s outbreak will need to reach by Wednesday in order to avoid a longer lockdown.

Kamradt-Scott said authorities need to look at the cumulative caseload and how dispersed the infections are.

“If we see multiple new clusters of cases appearing in multiple locations around the city, you can appreciate the government will most likely extend the lockdown,” he said.

“But if we’ve only got conceivably a very small number, like in the low tens linked to just one cluster… the government [might] move towards relaxing that.”

Berejiklian said yesterday it was “too soon” to tell whether Sydney’s lockdown would end as planned, though she was confident the “tide is turning” in the city’s outbreak.

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