Warming weather in Australia stirs Covid-19 concerns as people head out to enjoy the sun

SYDNEY (XINHUA) – As Australia heads into summer, health officials have ramped up messaging to ensure Covid-safe behaviours are maintained despite the sunny weather and festive atmosphere.

On Sunday (Nov 16), thousands of Australians in the State of New South Wales (NSW) flocked to beaches along the coast to enjoy one of the first idyllic beach days of the season.

The country’s case figures over the past month have been largely positive with the two most severely affected states, New South Wales and Victoria, going nine and 17 days respectively without a local infection.

However, the potential lack of social distancing at many Sydney beaches and inability to effectively contact trace in the event of an outbreak prompted a reminder by authorities that the threat from Covid-19 remained very real.

“With the weather becoming warmer and people starting to attend more social gatherings, NSW Health is calling on the community to maintain Covid-safe behaviours that have been key to stopping the spread of the virus,” NSW Health epidemiologist Christine Selvey said.

Officials responsible for Australia’s most well-known beach, Bondi, earlier said that the iconic strip of sand could be closed entirely during the peak summer season should crowds become too large or fail to social distance.

They called on sunbathers to keep a “towel-length” between themselves and anybody else not from the same household.

New South Wales conducted 7,034 tests on Sunday, compared to 17,226 the day before, with testing rates on weekends generally lower.

Health officials encouraged people to keep practising physical distancing and personal hygiene, and get tested if they felt at all unwell.

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