News Coronavirus NSW Premier, police defend crackdown amid virus restrictions

NSW Premier, police defend crackdown amid virus restrictions

nsw police coronavirus restrictions
Police patrol Cronulla Beach, in Sydney's south, as tougher coronavirus restrictions are introduced. Photo: AAP
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NSW Police have pushed back at criticism they are being heavy-handed in enforcing tough coronavirus restrictions across the state.

“I know there has been criticism of police, which I don’t accept,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

It comes after reports of people being moved on from Sydney parks and gym-goers seen to be fined or warned for flouting social distancing rules in the city’s south.

But police say they have also been spat on and abused while dealing with NSW residents at parks and beaches.

On Wednesday, Mr Fuller said police were only enforcing the laws, which can include six months in jail and $11,000 fines. Gatherings of more than two people – apart from immediate family – are banned across NSW, and residents are urged to stay at home where possible.

“If you need medical assistance, pharmacies, doctors, the hospital – you can leave [your home]. If you need food, can you leave,” he said.

“If you are driving home and you need a takeaway coffee, [there’s] nothing wrong with jumping out the car and a coffee, just don’t sit down and have it there.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also defended the tough approach, saying she was “pleased to say people think we are going too far”.

“I appreciate this is a massive change in lifestyle for all of us, but it’s to keep us safe,” she said.

“This is not something we can stop, but it’s something we can control. We’re finding the right balance – to make sure people can leave their home when they need to.

“We appreciate for some people this a huge change in the way we live, but I said in the beginning, we wanted a ‘no regrets’ policy – a policy where we could look back and say, ‘Gee, I’m glad we did that at that time’, because things are unfortunately going to get worse.”

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in NSW has reached 2182, while a 95-year-old woman has become the state’s ninth COVID-19 death. The national death toll is at 20.

Meanwhile, a pop-up coronavirus testing clinic will be established in Bondi to help reduce the spread of the infection after clusters developed within Sydney’s backpacker community.

-with AAP