The premier of Australia’s Victoria state has called on citizens to “stay the course” after large groups flooded beaches and parks at the weekend in defiance of lockdown regulations.
Victoria, emerging from a major winter spike in coronavirus cases, relaxed lockdown regulations last weekend but still allowed only five people from up to two households to congregate outside.
Many ignored those regulations on Saturday and crowded parks and beaches, causing State Premier Daniel Andrews to remind Victorians not to be selfish and maintain physical distancing.
Victoria reported only 12 new coronavirus cases and one death Sunday, well down on the peaks of winter.
The fatality was an elderly man who was a resident of an elder-care facility that saw an outbreak.
“We are so, so close,” Andrews said.
“Let’s not any of us do anything that might undermine the very positive numbers. Once we get them low, we can keep them low and we can open up again if we don’t do anything silly or anything selfish right now.”
Andrews said the situation in Victoria is “delicately poised” as the state moves towards further easing of lockdown rules.
“It’s sunny, yes, and people love to go to the beach when it’s sunny, but there’s a global pandemic on,” he said.
“Surely, there’s a greater urge to see this thing, to defeat it and to have a normal summer and have a COVID-normal Christmas and 2021.”