'No understanding': Backlash after crowds seen at popular city beach

Large groups of people were photographed on Melbourne’s iconic St Kilda Beach on Friday despite ongoing calls for people to practice social distancing.

The photos have people suggesting the message just isn’t getting through to Australians, who have been warned to stay indoors and be 1.5 metres apart.

Victoria currently has 574 coronavirus cases after 54 more were confirmed in the last 24 hours.

Melbourne radio station 3AW's Tom Elliot said it seems like the message "just isn't getting through".

A woman who called into 3AW said she thought it was “absolutely disgusting”.

"It's really wrong,” she told the station.

People are seen at St Kilda Beach in Melbourne, Australia.
People at St Kilda Beach on Friday. Source: Getty Images

Photos of people ignoring the restrictions were shared on Facebook, causing outrage.

“Do these people not understand or have any comprehension of what’s happening?” one woman wrote.

Another woman called the beachgoers “selfish”.

“This is scary. People are taking no notice. Lock us down for goodness sake,” another woman wrote.

The scenes are similar to those that occurred at Sydney’s Bondi Beach last weekend, which led to the closure of a number of the city’s beaches.

NSW Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said it was “the most irresponsible behaviour of individuals that we’ve seen so far”.

People are seen at St Kilda Beach in Melbourne, Australia.
People are saying the photos show some are ignoring social distancing calls. Source: Getty Images

On Friday afternoon, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said “if you can stay home, you must stay home”.

“You cannot go out to the shopping centre unless you need to go shopping for the things you need when you need them,” Mr Andrews said.

“You cannot head down to the skate park nor the beach. I really hope we do not see again the sense that we saw in Bondi last weekend.”

People were also photographed on Manly Beach, in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, on Friday afternoon.

Northern Beaches Council Mayor Michael Regan told 7News.com.au the beaches will be closed if “people don’t follow the rules”.

Beachgoers at Manly are pictured.
People are pictured at Manly Beach on Friday morning. Source: Facebook/ Juju Sha

Social distancing ‘for several months’

Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy said if community transmission of COVID-19 becomes “significant” there will be real concern.

He said community transmission was the "single most important concern for the health experts".

"There is small amounts of community transmission in some pockets in Sydney, which is probably the most significant in the country," Professor Murphy said.

"That's why these social distancing measures are just so important. That's why they have to be for the long haul.

“For several months.”

Most confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia have been acquired overseas, prompting Scott Morrison on Friday to implement a mandatory 14-day hotel isolation period for all people arriving in the country.

People are seen at St Kilda Beach in Melbourne, Australia.
The beachgoers have been called 'selfish'. Source: Getty Images

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