The NSW Government has closed Bondi Beach after crowds ignored Australia's outdoor gathering limits imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus.
The announcement came as NSW Health revealed the state had recorded its biggest daily spike in COVID-19 cases, with 83 new people diagnosed in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday.
In a media conference on Saturday, NSW Police Minister David Elliott said more beaches would be shut if people continue to flout rules banning more than 500 people from gathering at outdoor venues.
"We will now be seeing beaches across the state that fail to comply with the regulation... be closed," he said,.
He said, in the event too many people were at any beach and were not practicing social distancing, surf lifesavers would close the beach and order people to move on.
Police will then have the power to move on individuals who do not comply with these directions.
"Please, we need to you be safe," he said.
"I cannot sit by and see the community not only ignore the laws but openly flout them."
Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said he agreed with the new beach regulations, but said he thought it unlikely that they would need to be applied in Wollongong.
"It's not off the agenda in Wollongong, and we will take any options that are necessary, but we don't have the scale and density here in Wollongong like they do in Bondi," he said.
We have 17 patrolled beaches, so we are well supplied - and there is no reason why Wollongong beaches can't remain open if people follow the rules.Gordon Bradbery
"The most likely location for us would be North Wollongong, and we will monitor all beaches. But luckily today is cooler and at this stage people are practising the correct distances on our beaches.
"I hope the minister doesn't generalise, because it's important that people do have some recreation space, as long as they are practising social distancing.
"We have 17 patrolled beaches, so we are well supplied - and there is no reason why Wollongong beaches can't remain open if people follow the rules."
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb said it would be last resort for police to step in.
"It is a very dangerous disease and virus and we are trying to reduce the impact of the people of NSW," she said.
NSW records biggest daily coronavirus spike
There are now 436 cases of COVID-19 in the state, the majority of which were either acquired overseas or are a contact of a known case, NSW Health said.
Seventy-four cases have been locally acquired without an identified source of infection.
NSW also said it had now identified four separate cruises which docked in Sydney which ave been affected by COVID-19 cases, after it was revealed that 2700 people had returned home without knowing of a coronavirus outbreak on board the Rudy Princess.
The newly identified cruises were Ovation of the Seas, two journeys of the Voyager of the Seas and the Celebrity Solstice.
NSW Health has reiterated that all travellers from international cruises must self-quarantine for 14 days after disembarkation.
Additionally, the Minister for Health and Medical Research has signed a public health order to declare Lord Howe Island as a public health risk area in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 importation into this community.
The order commences at 5am on 22 March 2020. It restricts access to Lord Howe Island to residents of Lord Howe Island, health service workers and other essential service workers. The order also directs people on Lord Howe Island into home quarantine for 14 days after arrival - with some exceptions made for essential workers. The order extends to 18 June 2020 but may need to be extended further.
Cruise ship information:
- NSW Health identified a 67 year old man who had travelled from Canada before joining a cruise on the Ovation of the Seas ship and was diagnosed with COVID-19. There are no known linked cases, no evidence of an outbreak of respiratory illness on the ship or people who developed symptoms on the last day of the cruise. All passengers are being contacted and advised to self-quarantine and be on the alert for symptoms. The ship left Sydney on 11 March and returned to Sydney on 18 March and did not stop at any overseas locations. The ship is now at sea with only crew on board.
- A case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in a passenger from the Voyager of the Seas, a young woman in her 20s. The ship left Sydney on 25 February, visited the South Pacific and New Zealand, and returned to Sydney on 7 March. The ship is now at sea with only crew on board. There are no known linked cases, and no evidence of an outbreak of respiratory illness on board. It will be 14 days on 21 March at 6.30am since the ship arrived. Although self-isolation of well passengers is no longer required, all passengers are being contacted with advice to seek COVID-19 testing if unwell.
- The same ship, the Voyager of the Seas, embarked passengers on the evening of 7 March and set sail that night. It arrived back in Sydney after visiting islands in the South Pacific. A passenger on this cruise, a 66 year old man who is a South Australian resident, was confirmed to have COVID yesterday. He is in a Sydney Hospital. There are no known linked cases and no evidence of an outbreak of respiratory illness on board. All passengers are being contacted to ensure self-quarantine, and advised to monitor for symptoms.
- New Zealand has advised that a male passenger on the Celebrity Solstice, which docked in Sydney on 20 March, was reported today to have COVID-19. The case had joined the ship at the beginning of the cruise in Auckland on 10 March and left it in Dunedin on 15 March. There are no known linked cases and no evidence of an outbreak of respiratory illness on board, all passengers are being contacted to ensure self-quarantine and to provide advice to monitor for symptoms.