Beachgoers flock to Sydney’s beaches to enjoy scorching summer day despite fears of COVID outbreak

Beachgoers flocked to Sydney’s beaches on a scorching hot summer day amid fears large holiday crowds could spark a surge in coronavirus cases.  

Thousands of sun-seekers were seen cooling off at Sydney’s Bondi Beach as the mercury hit 29C on Sunday.

NSW recorded only seven new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday after 24,000 tests were carried out overnight – but concern remains over a case of the virus at Bondi with no known links to the Northern Beaches cluster. 

The crowds also follow NSW Police being forced to break up hundreds of revellers at nearby Bronte Beach on Christmas Day. 

Health Minister Brad Hazzard slammed the group for not caring about the rest of Sydney and threatening the city with a coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ event.

Meanwhile in Melbourne, cricket fans took in the second day of the Boxing Day Test between Australia and India with spectators capped at 30,000 as part of the MCG’s stringent Covid-safe measures.

Sun-seekers flocked to Sydney's Bondi Beach on Sunday as the mercury rose to 29C despite fears of a 'super-spreader' event in the city's eastern suburbs

Sun-seekers flocked to Sydney’s Bondi Beach on Sunday as the mercury rose to 29C despite fears of a ‘super-spreader’ event in the city’s eastern suburbs

Beachgoers at Bondi Beach making the most of the summer conditions and cool waters. New South Wales recorded seven new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday

Beachgoers at Bondi Beach making the most of the summer conditions and cool waters. New South Wales recorded seven new cases of Covid-19 on Sunday

Thousands either sun-baked or took a dip in the water at the famous Sydney beach. Parking was at a premium with many beachgoers bringing an umbrella for the occasion

Thousands either sun-baked or took a dip in the water at the famous Sydney beach. Parking was at a premium with many beachgoers bringing an umbrella for the occasion

Sunseekers pictured at Bondi on Sunday. Concern remains over a case of the virus at Bondi with no known links to the Northern Beaches cluster

Sunseekers pictured at Bondi on Sunday. Concern remains over a case of the virus at Bondi with no known links to the Northern Beaches cluster

Beachgoers soak up some rays at Bondi Beach on Sunday. The mercury hit 29C on Sunday in Sydney - the city's highest all week

Beachgoers soak up some rays at Bondi Beach on Sunday. The mercury hit 29C on Sunday in Sydney – the city’s highest all week

Masked police patrolled the crowds as vocal fans of both sides mixed at Australia’s largest stadium. 

On Sunday morning, NSW Health authorities revealed one of the new cases was a pub worker who caught the virus three weeks ago.

All the new cases have been linked to Sydney’s Northern Beaches, bringing the total to 122, but authorities are no closer to knowing the source of the outbreak.

Six of the cases have been linked to the Avalon cluster and five of those were already in isolation.

The seventh case was a firefighter, who works at Crows Nest, who visited the Belrose Hotel on December 11.

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said a worker at the same venue came forward for a test on December 23, with results showing they were infected two to three weeks ago. 

She explained he had a ‘very short period of fever’ on December 10, and has likely been infected since that time – meaning potential contact with thousands of people.

A beachgoer applies sun screen to another's back on Sunday as the temperature soared in Sydney's eastern suburbs

A beachgoer applies sun screen to another’s back on Sunday as the temperature soared in Sydney’s eastern suburbs 

In Melbourne meanwhile, cricket fans soaked in the second day of the Boxing Day Test between Australia and India. Pictured: Police stand by as Australia fans heckle Indian supporters

In Melbourne meanwhile, cricket fans soaked in the second day of the Boxing Day Test between Australia and India. Pictured: Police stand by as Australia fans heckle Indian supporters

The number of spectators for the second Test has been capped at 30,000 as part of the MCG's stringent COVID-safe measures

The number of spectators for the second Test has been capped at 30,000 as part of the MCG’s stringent COVID-safe measures

A beachgoer wades through the surf at Bondi Beach on Sunday as thousands cooled off amid the rising temperatures

A beachgoer wades through the surf at Bondi Beach on Sunday as thousands cooled off amid the rising temperatures

A line of beachgoers line up next to an ice cream truck on Sunday as sun-seekers made the most of the post-Christmas weather

A line of beachgoers line up next to an ice cream truck on Sunday as sun-seekers made the most of the post-Christmas weather

Two beachgoers walk through the surf at Bondi Beach on Sunday. Six of the seven coronavirus cases announced on Sunday have been linked to the Avalon cluster

Two beachgoers walk through the surf at Bondi Beach on Sunday. Six of the seven coronavirus cases announced on Sunday have been linked to the Avalon cluster

Gladys Berejiklian announced 24,000 people had been tested in the past 24 hours as the Northern Beaches cluster grew (pictured, workers at a COVID-19 testing clinic on Christmas Day)

Gladys Berejiklian announced 24,000 people had been tested in the past 24 hours as the Northern Beaches cluster grew (pictured, workers at a COVID-19 testing clinic on Christmas Day)

Dr Kerry Chant (pictured, left, with Gladys Berejiklian, right, on Sunday) admitted contact tracers still had no idea how the new outbreak began

Dr Kerry Chant (pictured, left, with Gladys Berejiklian, right, on Sunday) admitted contact tracers still had no idea how the new outbreak began

‘So he basically came home from work, a bit tired and then went to bed, woke up with a bit of a fever, took his temperature, was a bit of a fever and then woke up the next morning and totally fine, no fever,’ Dr Chant said on Sunday.

Adding to the mystery, the infected worker was not present when the firefighter visited the pub, nor when another Covid-19 case went to the bottle shop at the hotel on December 17.

Dr Chant said health teams were desperately working to figure out the ‘missing link’ between the Belrose Hotel and the Northern Beaches.

‘What we have actually asked people to do is anyone who was at the Belrose Hotel any time between 12 to 6pm on 11 December we’re asking you to get a test,’ Dr Chant said.

‘Irrespective of whether you have symptoms or not, please go out and undertake testing.’

Dr Chant said authorities were looking into a possible connection between the Belrose Hotel and Avalon RSL and Bowling Centre cluster – which has been at the centre of the outbreak. 

The firefighter had visited the Belrose Hotel (pictured), in Belrose, for 90 minutes on December 11

The firefighter had visited the Belrose Hotel (pictured), in Belrose, for 90 minutes on December 11

New South Wales has recorded seven new Covid-19 cases overnight with all cases linked to the Northern Beaches cluster (pictured, shoppers in Sydney on Boxing Day)

New South Wales has recorded seven new Covid-19 cases overnight with all cases linked to the Northern Beaches cluster (pictured, shoppers in Sydney on Boxing Day)

The cases come as stay-at-home orders imposed on residents of Sydney’s Northern Beaches is reinstated after the conclusion of Christmas festivities.  

After a three-day reprieve for small indoor Christmas gatherings, the Northern Beaches has from Sunday returned to restrictions barring indoor gatherings.

The changes mean Northern Beaches residents will be bound by the same rules they were on December 23.

If you live in the northern part of the Northern Beaches, you are allowed to have outdoor gatherings of just five, while southern areas can gather in groups of ten outside.  

People may neither enter nor exit the local government area.

For the rest of Sydney as well as Wollongong, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, ten-person private gathering restrictions again apply.

The changes mean Northern Beaches residents will be bound by the same rules they were on December 23 (pictured, Manly beach)

The changes mean Northern Beaches residents will be bound by the same rules they were on December 23 (pictured, Manly beach)

If you live in the northern part of the Northern Beaches, you are allowed to have outdoor gatherings of just five, while southern areas can gather in groups of ten outside (pictured, The Corso at Manly on Boxing Day)

If you live in the northern part of the Northern Beaches, you are allowed to have outdoor gatherings of just five, while southern areas can gather in groups of ten outside (pictured, The Corso at Manly on Boxing Day)

Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged residents to be patient and promised further announcements on restrictions would be made in the lead-up to New Year's Eve (pictured, Manly on Boxing Day)

Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged residents to be patient and promised further announcements on restrictions would be made in the lead-up to New Year’s Eve (pictured, Manly on Boxing Day)

This was increased over the Christmas period to allow ten guests as well as unlimited numbers of children under ten.  

Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged residents to be patient and promised further announcements on restrictions would be made in the lead-up to New Year’s Eve.

‘I appreciate frustration levels are increasing as we get closer to New Year’s Eve and days we stay at home increase,’ she said.

‘We hope to have some clear information for everybody tomorrow or the latest the day after on New Year’s Eve. 

‘And I just ask everybody for your patience. But everyday that goes past gives us more information and more confidence to make decisions which we think will ease the pressure on communities at this stage.’  

NEW RESTRICTIONS IN PLACE FROM MIDNIGHT DEC 26 

Northern Beaches peninsula zone (North of Narrabeen Bridge, and east of the Baha’i Temple):

This area will return to ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions, with no indoor gatherings allowed.

Up to five people, including children, will be able to gather outdoors for exercise or recreational activity.

People may not enter or leave this zone.

For the remainder (southern zone) of the Northern Beaches:

Given the ongoing risk, this area will return to ‘stay-at-home’ restrictions, with no indoor gatherings allowed.

Up to 10 people, including children, will be able to gather outdoors for exercise or recreational activity.

People may not enter or leave this zone.

Residents of the Northern Beaches are able to leave for four permitted reasons:

Shopping for food or other goods and services

Travel for work or education purposes if unable to work from home

Exercise

Medical or caring reasons

Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Woolongong and the Central Coast: 

School-aged children now constitute as part of a household’s 10 visitor cap. No other changes. 

In regional NSW, nothing will change.

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