'That must stop': The 'stupid' act threatening Sydney's Covid outbreak response

Nick Whigham
·Assistant News Editor
·2-min read

NSW authorities are urging people to cooperate with coronavirus rules, singling out people who have given false names when attending venues, preventing contact tracers from doing their job.

NSW Minister for Health Brad Hazzard took aim at Sydneysiders who, he said, were “as stupid as it gets” during a press conference Monday when the state announced 15 new cases of Covid-19.

Some patrons had used joke pseudonyms when signing into venues in the Northern Beaches region where the latest outbreak has taken hold.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard took aim at a 'stupid' act on Monday.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard took aim at a 'stupid' act on Monday. Source: Getty

Venues such as pubs and cafes must take down the information of visitors, with most relying on the NSW Health app and corresponding QR code, despite some reported compliance issues.

“I want to address the QR code issue,” Mr Hazzard said.

“We have world class tracers in [NSW] Health. But they can only do their job if we as a community give them the information they need if and when it is needed.”

“Now, what we are finding is that some of the visitors to various venues still think that it is funny to be caught putting in there that you're Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse or a false phone number,” he said.

“That must stop.”

The minister excoriated those responsible for the act as “stupid” and urged businesses using their own systems to have the contact information of patrons accessible to quickly provide to authorities if required.

“This is a worldwide Covid pandemic. And thinking it's smart to call yourself Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse is about as stupid as it gets. So that must cease,” he said.

People line up to be tested at a pop-up COVID-19 testing facility at Avalon on Friday. Source: AAP
People line up to be tested at a pop-up COVID-19 testing facility at Avalon on Friday. Source: AAP

“Secondly, businesses who do have QR codes and are using [something] other than the service NSW provides, really need to equip themselves now with the knowledge of who they call in the event that they get a call from Health.

“They need to be able to tell our health tracers clearly what the data is that their supplier, their provider, is actually holding.”

Mr Hazzard said public venues will need to be able to access such information quickly until a vaccine is widely distributed in the community next year.

“Until there's a vaccine, no matter what happens now, the risks will remain.”

There are now a total of 85 cases confirmed in the Northern Beaches, putting the Christmas plans of people across the country in disarray.

All of the new cases announced on Monday are linked to the Avalon cluster, with 83 cases now linked to the cluster overall.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.