Byron Bay locals queue to be tested at the town’s free pop-up clinic as backpackers are urged to stay away
- Backpackers across the Australia have been slammed of flouting isolation rules
- Byron Bay mayor happy that busloads of backpackers not arriving in the town
- Free pop-up clinic has opened up for locals to be tested for the killer coronavirus
Byron Bay locals were seen waiting patiently at the new pop-up clinic in their town to be tested for coronavirus as backpackers are urged to stay away.
The tourist town has ramped up its testing after residents and holidaymakers were seen heading to the beach, watching sunsets and going about life as normal last week, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Byron Bay Shire mayor Simon Richardson has also pushed for the NSW Government to stop allowing backpackers and tourists to travel to coastal town as they work to slow the spread of the killer coronavirus.
Two women are waiting to be tested at the free pop-up clinic in Byron Bay
A warning sign is seen outside the Byron Bay Hospital
Locals wait to be tested as they sit 1.5m apart and are wearing face masks to slow the spread of coronavirus
A number of locals were seen wearing masks and sitting 1.5metres apart – the safe distance ordered by the government – as they waited to be tested at the pop-up clinic.
The free clinic opened in Byron Bay this week, allowing locals to be tested if they have any coronavirus-like symptoms.
Warning signs were placed carefully around the clinic to ensure patients and workers remain safe.
A man was seen wiping down chairs throughout the day to maintain cleanliness and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor Richardson wants long-haul buses to be halted to stop more tourists arriving to the town over fears their hospitals couldn’t cope if there was an outbreak.
‘Having 50-odd backpackers sitting on a bus for 11 hours to escape the big city and come to Byron is completely inappropriate,’ Councillor Richardson told ABC.
‘It is unhelpful for our community, and if we don’t want people to congregate and we don’t want people to visit, lets stop the opportunity for them to do so.’
The last bus of backpackers to arrived in Byron at midday on Wednesday with only six passengers on board.
Backpackers have been slammed for their constant disregard for the rules to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
Bondi, the epicentre of the city’s coronavirus outbreak, was bustling with not just joggers but women exercising in groups and locals and visitors sitting down to admire the ocean view.
Large crowds were also seen over the weekend at Brighton Beach in Victoria, as people continue to ignore the social distancing rules.
A man wearing gloves wipes down a chair at the free pop-up clinic in Byron Bay
A worker is seen going through paperwork at the free pop-up clinic in Byron Bay
Byron Bay Hospital has a free pop-up clinic open besides it for locals to be tested for coronavirus
Despite the town’s mayor rallying for backpackers to stop travelling, they are still entitled to be tested at the free pop-up clinic.
Lles Shign and Lynn Maendartsma, both 18, arrived to Australia from Finland and said they are ‘not frightened’ of the killer virus.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 5,337
New South Wales: 2,389
Western Australia: 422
South Australia: 385
Australian Capital Territory: 87
Northern Territory: 22
TOTAL CASES: 5,337
‘Our greatest fear is getting stuck in one place, giving all our money out and doing nothing,’ Ms Maendartsma told The Guardian.
The pair were planning on heading up to Brisbane but knew that wasn’t an option anymore so they have decided to ‘chill’ at Byron’s beaches.
English backpacker Danny Wright said he doesn’t want to go back to the UK in fear of infecting his elderly family members.
‘From all the news I’ve been watching, Australia seems to be one of the safest places in the world.’
He said the hostels have been doing everything they can to ensure social distancing is adhered to.
German backpacker Julian Luss, 18, said he wants to head back home immediately rather than being in a crowded room with two or three other people.
The earliest flight he could find back to Germany was on April 10.
‘We’re staying calm and enjoying the rest of our time in Australia,’ he said.
‘There isn’t as much partying as there used to be. Some people are still staying out and having a few drinks with their friends, but with social distancing.’
Byron Bay opened up a free pop-up clinic for people to get tested for coronavirus