Residents of Sydney’s North Beaches face wait times of more than three hours as thousands flock to get tested for COVID-19.
Anyone living in the area between Spit Bridge and Palm Beach has been urged to get tested immediately if they experience even the slightest symptoms as authorities work to contain the growing group.
Long lines have formed at the testing clinics in Mona Vale, Avalon and Narrabeen ahead of a hot day in Sydney.
Healthcare workers have been seen walking up and down long lines of people handing out disinfectant, masks and distributing sunscreen and bottled water amid concerns about heat stroke risks.
Authorities are concerned that people who wait long periods of time in the sun may suffer from fatigue and temperatures are expected to exceed 30 ° C today.
Damaging storms and winds are also expected to hit the coast later today, potentially jeopardizing testing efforts.
More than 250,000 people living in the area have been sent into an instant lockdown for the next three days, and people have been told to stay home and avoid mingling whenever possible.
State health authorities have also released an extensive list of places and places where people will need to be tested and self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether a negative test is returned.
“What’s really important is that the Northern Beaches community doesn’t leave home unless they have to,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told Today.
“Nothing, unless it’s essential. Don’t mix with each other. Don’t really mix with other families. And please don’t do anything that is considered nonessential. So it’s very, very important that that happens.”
All public venues will be closed until Sunday, including all playgrounds, skate parks, aquatic centers, and outdoor gathering spaces.
There are now 17 confirmed cases linked to the Playas del Norte group and more cases will be announced at 11am today.
Berejiklian warned New South Wales residents to “prepare” for a sharp increase in the number of cases, urging everyone to follow health orders and remain vigilant for the next few days.
“It is very important for the Northern Beaches community not to leave home unless it is necessary. Do nothing unless it is essential.
“But all of us in Sydney in general have to be on high alert.”