Another resident at the Newmarch House aged care facility in Sydney dies as the NSW Health Minister expresses his agitation at people ignoring social distancing rules on three Sydney beaches which were temporarily reopened.

April 25, 2020 19:12:11
The NSW Health Minister has expressed his disappointment in people who flouted social distancing rules on Sydney beaches after council relaxed the lockdown for their benefit.
Key points:

  • There were 12 new coronavirus cases across NSW in the last 24 hours
  • Testing rates fell to 4,840 compared to 7,352 the previous day
  • An employee at an aged care facility in the Blue Mountains has tested positive

In the last 24 hours there has been a slight rise in coronavirus infections in NSW with 12 new cases, including four at the Anglicare Newmarch House aged care facility in western Sydney, where a sixth resident died this morning.
The 83-year-old man had tested positive to COVID-19 and had multiple health issues, Anglicare said in a statement.
Of the four new infections at the facility, two were residents and two were staff, bringing the total number of cases at Newmarch House to 48 (31 residents, 17 staff).
An outbreak of coronavirus was unintentionally started there by a staff member who worked six shifts before testing positive for COVID-19.
There is now a total of 2,994 coronavirus cases in NSW.
‘Disappointment and agitation’ over beach behaviour
This morning, swathes of people descended on Randwick beaches after the council decided on Friday to close the beaches again, apart from a three-hour window between 6:00am to 9:00am.
Coogee, Clovelly and Maroubra were shut early on Friday after people failed to adhere to the rules that the beaches were to be used for exercise only.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was worrying that people still could not be trusted.
“I have to express a degree of disappointment and agitation about the fact that some people, when the rules are relaxed, when we try and do the right thing by giving people the opportunity to have some outside exercise, [they] are disregarding the very strong message of social distancing,” he said.
He said people needed to be sensible if they wanted increased access to public spaces.
“My message to the community is, as the councils try to do the right thing by giving a little more in the way of space and time to try and enjoy the sort of things we traditionally enjoy, you’ve got to stick with the 1.5-metre social distancing.
“It’s a sneaky virus, and it could easily cut loose again if people don’t stick to the rules.”
The three beaches will be shut again after 9:00am tomorrow. The Randwick Council said it would reassess the situation on Monday.
All beaches in the Randwick and Waverley council areas were originally closed over a month ago after hundreds packed onto the sand at Bondi Beach on a hot day.
Earlier this week, both councils reopened some beaches for exercise, with only swimming and surfing permitted at Bondi and Bronte beaches.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb estimated 1 per cent of people were still not adhering to social distancing rules.
“Whether it’s arrogance, ignorance or entitlement, I’m not sure but it’s certainly frustrating for police,” she said.
Aged care facility in Blue Mountains affected
In the last 24 hours, another worker at an aged care facility tested positive to COVID-19, Mr Hazzard said.
The ABC has confirmed the worker was from the Catholic healthcare Bodington aged care facility in Wentworth Falls.
The facility is home to 120 elderly residents.
The worker developed symptoms 48 hours after their last shift and contact tracing was underway.
The state’s testing blitz continues after the NSW Government opened up testing to anyone with symptoms 4,840 people have been tested in the last 24 hours.
Mr Hazzard acknowledged this was a drop from Friday’s mammoth effort of 7,352 tests but said it was still a “remarkable” number.
Yesterday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she would like to see testing rates exceed 8,000 a day.
“We need it to understand what’s happening in the broader population,” Mr Hazzard said.
“I’d like to make this very clear to our residents of New South Wales: if you have any symptoms whatsoever, as little as an itchy throat, a runny nose, a temperature, the Government wants you to come forward and get tested.”
When questioned about US President Donald Trump’s recent comments on remedies, including the suggestion that disinfectant could be injected into people’s bodies to fight coronavirus, Mr Hazzard was succinct.
“I watch Mr Trump with amazement, that’s all I can really say.”
What you need to know about coronavirus:
First posted
April 25, 2020 13:15:21
Contact Paige Cockburn
stories from New South Wales