Surfers to return to Australia’s famous Bondi beach, closed due to COVID-19

Sydney, Australia, Apr 22 (efe-epa).- One of Australia’s most iconic beaches, Bondi in east Sydney, will reopen for water sports next week after having been closed for more than a month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials confirmed Wednesday.

“We are announcing water access for surfing and ocean swimming via strictly managed corridors along the sand. There will be no access to the sand for any recreating or land-based activities,” the press office of Waverley Council, where the beach is located, said in an email to EFE.

The partial reopening of Bondi, as well as the nearby beaches of Bronte and Tamarama, will take place on Apr. 28 between 7 am and 5 pm for water sports only, which means that walking and jogging on the beaches as well as sunbathing or sitting on the sand will not be permitted.

The Australian authorities ordered Bondi’s closure on Mar. 21 after thousands of people flocked there despite restrictions and social distancing measures imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Health officials attribute that flux of visitors to Bondi as partly responsible for the spread of the coronavirus among young people.

Australia has so far recorded 6,647 COVID-19 infections, including 74 deaths, but as the number of active cases has reduced significantly, containment measures in the country have gradually begun to be eased.

Some other districts in east Sydney, where a large number of young tourists, students and professionals are concentrated, have reopened other beaches for sporting activities, both in the water and on the shore. On Monday, Coogee, Maroubra and Clovelly beaches were opened for exercise only.

The Australian government has imposed a number of restrictions to curb the pandemic, including the suspension of various commercial and social activities and social distancing measures, although it allows schools and daycare facilities to function for children of essential service workers.

On Monday, more than 170 economists asked the Australian government to maintain the social restriction measures imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 despite the effects it has on the local economy.

The letter, dated Sunday and published Monday said it was not possible to make the economy work unless the public health crisis was first addressed, adding that the measures imposed have placed Australia in an enviable position in comparison to other countries.

Economists at the country’s top universities believe social distancing measures should be maintained until infections are low, testing capacity is expanded, and technology is available to track the contacts of those infected. EFE-EPA


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