Nine partygoers who attended an illegal gathering that attended the lockdown in eastern Sydney have each been fined $1,000.
Earlier this week, NSW police launched strike force Travelstop to investigate rumors of the illegal parties in the Maroubra area.
On Wednesday, the team handed out their first fines – nine men between the ages of 18 and 24 who attended a party at Malabar Headland on Friday, July 23.
Whether the men are linked to other gatherings in the area is now under investigation with an illegal beach party in Maroubra on Aug. 14 of particular concern after it was believed to have caused a sudden spike in business.
The party is said to have started in Lurline Bay and continued in an apartment building in South Maroubra.
Twenty of the estimated 60 guests at the superspreader meeting have since tested positive and have already infected 61 other close contacts.
After the number of Covid cases in eastern Sydney started to rise in August, NSW Health authorities have also launched a Pfizer vaccine campaign targeting the area.
NSW Health fears the fallout from an illegal beach party in Maroubra (pictured) on Aug. 14 is causing a sudden spike in cases in the Randwick area
Over the weekend, the South Eastern Sydney Local Health District forced locals aged 16-49 and authorized workers aged 16-59 to get vaccinated at a hub in Brighton-Le-Sands.
The move sparked speculation that the area had been prioritized for additional Pfizer jabs to counter rising local numbers.
But NSW Health Secretary Brad Hazzard dismissed the rumors on Monday, saying the initiative was to use up doses of canceled appointments before they expired.
“Southeast Sydney tweeted yesterday letting people know they had a viable vaccine as there were some no-shows,” he said at Monday’s daily Covid briefing.
“They just make sure, like all agencies do, that the vaccine is offered and adopted.”
He added: ‘The main message here is that our frontline workers who are vaccinating want you to come in and get a shot in your arm.
“They’ll make sure that if they have a vaccine because someone hasn’t shown it, they’ll make sure they get the message out, and that’s what they do.”
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District said the vaccination hub was in response to the spreading cluster of the Maroubra beach party.
Most of the guests at the party presumably came from outside the area, with many from the neighboring Bayside LGA.
“The criteria have been expanded because Randwick’s zip code overlaps with the Bayside LGA, one of 12 LGs of concern,” said a SESLHD spokesperson.
“There have also been 81 cases associated with a meeting on Saturday, August 14 in Maroubra, which is in the Randwick area.”
Twenty of the estimated 60 guests at the Maroubra beach party on August 14 have since tested positive and have already infected 61 other close contacts. (Pictured, three people working out on Maroubra beach last week)
Randwick Municipality currently has 130 active cases – including 52 in Maroubra alone – with neighboring Bayside at 236, City of Sydney 185 and Inner West also at 185, while Camden currently has 193 active cases.
By contrast, the municipal area of Woollahra – where the current outbreak began on June 16 when a Bondi limo driver was infected carrying aircrew from the airport – has only 19.
Canterbury-Bankstown and Blacktown LGAs currently remain the worst affected LGAs with 2,788 and 2016 respectively.
But numbers in the Penrith and Campbelltown areas have also skyrocketed in recent days, with 1,038 and 532 cases now.
Overall, NSW had another record number of cases on Monday, with 1,290 new cases reported and four more deaths – a man in his 50s, a woman in his 60s and two men in his 70s.
NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian admitted on Monday that some LGAs could be added to the care areas, while some could be released from the tighter lockdown restrictions.
“There are a few areas of local government that we are considering moving out of those areas of concern,” she said during Monday morning’s briefing.
‘In some municipalities there is a decrease or stabilization of case numbers with very high vaccination rates.
“These are the opportunities we need to look at and of course that depends on the health advice.
“Conversely, there can also be areas where there’s a spillover, so we’re just asking everyone to be wary.”