Sydney’s traditional New Year’s Eve festivities are uncertain as the State Government considers if – or how – they will go ahead in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in the city.
“Our strategy is to nip this in the bud,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Saturday. “We are making good inroads and we want to make sure we get on top of this in the shortest time as possible.
“We will let the community know in the next couple of days what New Year’s Eve looks like.”
May have to watch fireworks from home
But the Premier has prepared residents for the likelihood that the festivities will not go ahead in their usual format.
“Everybody should assume they’re watching the fireworks from home this year, [but] this will obviously be reviewed in the next few days and the health experts will give us the best advice on how to proceed,” she said.
The Australian Medical Association has already gone on record as saying that the fireworks should not go ahead so as to discourage people from gathering in large numbers around the harbour.
Tighter restrictions in various parts of city
The Covid-19 outbreak on Sydney’s northern beaches does appear to be in danger of spreading.
People living in the northern part of the northern beaches have gone back to tighter restrictions. Indoor gatherings are banned and outdoor gatherings are limited to five people for he purpose of exercise and recreation.
Those residents who are south of the Narrabeen Bridge must abide by the same restrictions, but can gather in groups of up to 10 people outdoors. Gatherings in greater Sydney are again limited to 10 people.
Backpacker Christmas party is heavily criticised
Meanwhile, the state’s health minister, Brad Hazzard, has hit out at people who attended a backpackers’ Christmas party at Bronte Beach in the city.
Police want to the scene on Friday when around 100 people gathered in breach of current public health orders. One man was issued with a court attendance notice after failing to comply with a move-on order, police said.
“People in the northern beaches have been doing their part, big time, to keep not only themselves but the rest of Sydney safe. It is absolutely appalling to see a large gathering of people who didn’t give a damn about the rest of Sydney,” Hazzard said.
“Let me tell you, I am hoping that will not become a super-spreader event – but there is every chance that it could be.”