Bondi Beach backpackers test positive
"Several" backpackers near Sydney's famous Bondi Beach have been infected with coronavirus, after hundreds ignored urgent public health warnings.
NSW Health confirmed today 97 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's tally to 533.
Of those 533 cases, 46 have been contracted locally without an identified source of infection.
"Several new diagnoses of COVID-19 have been made in backpackers in the Bondi area," NSW Health said in a statement today.
"There were two recent parties that some of the cases attended where the cases may have acquired their infections."
Those two parties were the Boogie Wonderland party at the Bucket List on March 15 and a party at Club 77 on the same date.
In a statement posted on Club 77's page today, owners confirmed they had been contacted by NSW Health and advised several patrons had tested positive for COVID-19.
A childcare worker from the Smeaton Grange Young Academics Centre has also been infected with COVID-19.
Any children or staff who went to the centre between March 2 and March 16 are being told to self isolate.
All beaches in Sydney's eastern suburbs were closed today, including Bondi, Tamarama, Maroubra and Coogee.
As the coronavirus tally across Australian surges past 1200, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lashed those flouting social distancing guidelines.
Earlier today he told reporters he "may have to take far more draconian measures" with the potential for a lockdown to be discussed tonight at the national cabinet meeting.
"I have already flagged issues regarding internal gatherings and targeted responses that is what is being considered by the states and territories as part of the national cabinet this evening," he said.
"If there have been pubs and clubs that are heaving with people on the weekend, that is simply an invitation for the states and territories to shut them down.
"There is a responsibility, both of those who run those venues and the patrons who are going to those venues.
"I mean, coronavirus is not a secret. Everybody knows. It is wall-to-wall on every coverage, and every conversation happening around the country today."
"There is no excuse to say you do not know. You have to keep your healthy distance between each other. If Australians cannot do that, if they can't do that on a broader scale, they are denying the government and authorities the most important weapon we have to save lives and to save livelihoods."
Mr Morrison also criticised Sydneysiders for heading out in the hundreds to Bondi Beach on Saturday, saying that was "not OK".
"(It) served as a message to federal and state leaders that too many Australians are not taking these issues seriously enough," he said.
Mr Morrison emphasised the issue was "deadly serious".
Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly backed Mr Morrison's stand on social distancing and the need for the guidelines to be strictly observed.
"I would like to stress this, particularly to young people, you are not immune from this virus," he said.
"While we have seen across the world people getting this very severe infection, the 20 per cent who get it are mostly older people but some young people have also had severe infection.
"Some young people have died and some young people have transmitted that infection to other members of their family.
"This is an important message for everybody, including all components of society, to take this message very seriously."
Originally published as Bondi Beach backpackers test positive