Outdoor gyms are a ‘germ festival’ and should not be used while Sydney is in lockdown, the NSW Police Minister has said.
David Elliott slammed eastern suburbs residents for using the outdoor gym at Bondi Beach even though they are not breaking any rules because outside exercise is allowed.
In an interview on Sky News, he revealed he has asked the local mayor to better manage crowds near the city’s eastern beaches.
Outdoor gyms are a ‘germ festival’ and should not be used while Sydney is in lockdown, the NSW Police Minister has said. Pictured: The Bondi Beach gym
‘We’ve closed the gyms for a reason but people in the eastern beaches seem to think they can use those public gyms which are quite frankly just a germ festival.
‘I don’t know why you would want to expose yourself to those situations,’ he said.
Under Sydney’s lockdown rules, residents are allowed to exercise in groups of two within 10km of their home.
Mr Elliot said people should exercise but warned residents to stay in their local areas.
‘If you’re going to exercise – and you should exercise because it’s good for your mental and physical health – you don’t have to go down to Bondi Beach to do it.
‘You should be exercising locally and that way we will avoid these crowds that we’ve seen in the eastern beaches.’
Residents are seen exercising at Queen’s Park – next to Centennial Park – in Sydney
Mr Elliot was reminded that there hasn’t been a single coronavirus transmission outdoors that health officials are aware of.
‘Well, yet,’ he said.
‘I don’t want to expose the members of any community to any unnecessary risk and that’s what’s happening.
‘If people are going to push the envelope like they have been in the eastern suburbs then we’ve got to respond.
‘People weren’t working within the spirit of the law.’
Mr Elliot said he has written to the mayor of Waverley to ‘respond and provide additional resources to manage the crowds.’
NSW recorded its highest daily spike in Covid-19 cases with 136 new infections and the outbreak now considered to be a ‘national emergency’.
The new cases prompted Gladys Berejiklian to not only announce an extension of work travel restrictions to parts of Sydney but admit that lockdown would likely not end on July 30.
Instead, Sydneysiders could be forced to live with restrictions for as long as October.
‘There is no doubt that the numbers are not going in the direction we were hoping they would at this stage,’ she said.
‘It is fairly apparent that we will not be close to [ending lockdown] next Friday.’
The NSW Government held a crisis cabinet meeting on Friday morning where it was declared the current outbreak in south-west and western Sydney was a ‘national emergency.’
Of the new cases reported, 53 were infectious in the community. An 89-year-old man has also died from the virus overnight.
The new cases surpass the record 124 infections that were announced on Thursday.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced work travel restrictions would not only be extended to parts of western Sydney but that it was unlikely lockdown would be lifted by July 30 (pictured, Sydney resident exercises at Centennial Park as the city remains plunged in lockdown)
Travel restrictions have been extended to the Cumberland and Blacktown local government areas with workers now prohibited from leaving their suburb unless their job is essential.
Suburbs impacted by the tougher restrictions include Merrylands, Greystanes and Guildford.
‘We also have to acknowledge that we need to contain the spread of the virus, and that is critical at this time,’ Ms Berejiklian said.
Chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant added: ‘I have advised the government today that this is a national emergency, and requires additional measures to reduce the case number.’
How does Gladys want to change jab rollout?
1. Make under 40s eligible for Pfizer in Covid-ravaged areas of Sydney
2. Delay second doses of Pfizer to six weeks to get more first doses out
3. Recommend AstraZeneca for over 40s (currently only recommended for over 60s)
4. Take supplies from other states to prioritise NSW
‘What we are seeing, is that the actions we have taken to date have averted many cases, but what we are not seeing is the turnaround that we would have liked to see at this stage.’
The staggering number of cases prompted Dr Chant to call for vaccination efforts to be ramped up across the community.
‘I have requested that what we urgently focus on is redirecting all of the vaccine initiatives to south-western Sydney, and western Sydney, particularly the affected local government areas.’
Dr Kerry Chant has led by example revealing her husband and mother-in-law have both received their AstraZeneca vaccines.
‘I just want to say that the Chief Health Officer would not recommend AstraZeneca to someone that they care about if they had concerns that the risks of AstraZeneca are infinitesimally small compared to the benefits,’ she said.
‘So can I just be very clear that we need to correct the mythology about AstraZeneca.
‘And in the context of the Delta threat, I just cannot understand why people would not be taking the opportunity to go out and get AstraZeneca in droves.’
A record 87,000 residents were tested for Covid-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday.
Of the new cases, 77 are linked to known clusters while 59 are being investigated to determine the source of infection.
There are 137 people being treated in hospital of which 32 people are intensive care and 14 are on ventilation.
Ms Berejiklian said Sydney residents had a ‘national obligation’ to stop the spread of the virus and that they should get vaccinated as soon as possible.
‘We need to get at least the first jab for as many people as we can in those affected communities as possible, and that’s why we are asking for a refocus of the national vaccination strategy,’ she said.
‘We’ve already put some request in which we understand are being considered, but we need to refocus, which means using all vaccines available, including AstraZeneca.
Discussions about how restrictions may be changed to further lock down the south-west and ease pressure on areas with few cases will begin next week