COVID: Sydney beach party sparks ‘backpacker’ deportation threat

Australia’s immigration minister said backpackers and other foreign visitors caught flouting public health restrictions could be deported, adding he was shocked by scenes from a Sydney beach on Christmas Day.

Videos of the gathering shared on social media showed maskless young revelers singing and dancing in breach of coronavirus regulations. Some eyewitnesses said many of those present were British.

Sydney is battling a new outbreak after months of no local cases. The virus’s re-appearance a week before Christmas sparked a swift re-introduction of restrictions in the city, including clampdowns on holiday gatherings and a lockdown of the worst-affected region, the Northern Beaches.

The minister stated, “If somebody is threatening public safety or health, their visa can be cancelled and revoked.”

He did not specify how the government might track down rule breakers. None of the partygoers were fined or otherwise penalized, police said.

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