'It's a joke': NSW government blasted over Covid 'double standard'

·News Editor
·4-min read

People have blasted the NSW government for having a "double standard" after hordes of people crammed onto a walking track in Manly over the weekend. 

With police cracking down on parts of southwest Sydney as NSW's coronavirus outbreak grows, people are suggesting not enough is being done in other overpopulated areas. 

Photos taken by 7News over the weekend show people exercising on the coast of Manly, with many stopping to take in the view of the surf while seemingly ignoring social distancing rules. 

"There's not a lot of social distancing," one woman told the news outlet. 

A crowd gathers on a walking track in Manly. Source: 7News
A crowd gathers on a walking track in Manly. Source: 7News

It comes just days after NSW put in stricter lockdown rules, with groups of two now only allowed to meet for exercise

People on Facebook slammed the government over the photos as the spotlight has been put on southwest Sydney where police have been cracking down on those not complying with Covid rules

Last week, a dedicated police operation in southwest Sydney saw at least 100 more officers deployed to the area to ensure compliance with COVID-19 rules.

Racial justice organisation Democracy in Colour decried the decision, describing the operation as "thinly-veiled racism".

"This isn't a public health response, it's explicitly targeting people of colour and working class communities in the western suburbs," National Director Neha Madhok said.

"Inner city suburbs and the Northern Beaches have had significant cases but they have not been harshly policed like this."

'I can't believe my eyes'

Many echoed Ms Madhok's comments as the pictures from Manly emerged, with some dubbing it a "double standard". 

'I can't believe my eyes," one commented.

"We don't have our jobs, city is in lockdown and these people are out there as if we [are not in lockdown] ... makes me so angry."

"What about Manly alone – there were hundreds out there today," another said on Facebook over the weekend.

"It's a joke ... if we don't wake up and charge these people then we are putting our lives at risk and we will never get on top of this virus."

People stop to take in the view at a headland in Manly. Source: 7 News
People stop to take in the view at a headland in Manly. Source: 7 News

More than 376 infringement notices have been dished out by police since Friday, including 30 related to the three large gatherings.

One gathering involved 15 middle-aged and elderly men playing cards together in a Marrickville home, with each being fined $1000.

Another involved five men playing video games together at a Merrylands West property on Saturday night, while the third involved 10 people gathering at a Sydney Olympic Park unit for an 18th birthday party.

Videos posted to social media on Monday also showed large numbers of people out and about in the eastern suburbs location of Coogee despite please from authorities to stay indoors unless absolutely essential.

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'We must call it out': Premier

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Monday cases were still concentrated in the Canterbury-Bankstown, Liverpool and Fairfield Local Government Areas. 

There are nine suburbs of particular concern, including Fairfield, Smithfield, Bossley Park, Fairfield Heights, Fairfield West, Wakeley, Bonnyrigg, Glenfield and West Hoxton.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian speaks during a COVID-19 update press conference.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said cases were still concentrated in southwest Sydney. Source: Getty

“The vast majority of cases are in the Fairfield Local Government Area. Everybody in Fairfield should be staying at home unless they absolutely have to [leave],” she said.

“That is the message across everywhere in Greater Sydney, but in particular, when large numbers of the virus are circulating in one local government area, we must call that out.

"We need to call that out because that is where the virus is spreading the most. We really want to stress that, even if you regard yourself as an essential worker, especially in the Fairfield Local Government Area, do not leave home if you have symptoms.

"Do not go to work unless you absolutely know that you don't have the virus."

NSW reported 112 new locally acquired cases on Monday, a sharp spike from the 77 reported on Sunday. 

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