On Saturday, sunbathers, surfers, and visitors were barred from Bondi Beach in an attempt to eradicate the coronavirus that has now infected over 1,000 people in Australia. Lifeguards cleared the daytrippers ‘ sands, and police sealed the beach exits in Sydney, before closing some more of the famous swimming spots in the area.
The temporary measure comes after photos were shared online showing mostly young beachgoers packed together— drawing howls of protest in the media and from officials who have forbidden non-essential outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people.
“We’re not doing this because we’re the’ friendly police.’.. it’s about saving lives,” Police Minister David Elliott told reporters in New South Wales.
Meanwhile a whole country— the vast Northern Territory— said that next week it would close its borders, forcing arrivals from other parts of Australia to quarantine for two weeks.
The steps announced by the chief minister of the region, starting on Tuesday, were intended to resolve concerns about the health of remote indigenous communities who might be more vulnerable to an outbreak.
The confirmed cases in Australia climbed Saturday to 1,068. In South Australia there are 10 US visitors under quarantine.
The nation has taken a number of drastic measures to curb the contagion spread including closing its borders to tourists and non-residents.
At Bondi, after being ordered to leave the beach, people stared down at the empty sands from the promenade.
“I think it’s about time we take on our duty even though it takes away everything that we love so much,” Bondi told AFP local Leila Alem.
So far, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has kept, as practiced in other parts of the world, from telling people to stay home or closing down non-essential businesses.