The day it all changed

22 March 2020

Today was a crazy day.

My morning started with a run up to North Head – a secluded national park easily accessible from Manly. The route took me past the Third Quarantine Cemetery The cemetery was built in the 1881 and is the resting place of over 240 residents who have succumbed to influenza, the bubonic plague and other epidemics over the past two centuries. Topical in the current circumstances. It also offers stunning views of the city.

As I approached the lookout, Ovation of the Seas (one of the largest cruise ships in the world) was entering Sydney Harbour. This came just a day after the port authorities allowed passengers on board the Ruby Princess to disembark in Sydney Harbour, despite the fact there had been a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak on the ship. Madness!

It was a surreal moment. I certainly felt a sense of foreboding ahead of the inevitable spread of the coronavirus across the country. I wonder if one day soon we’ll require additional Quarantine cemeteries to host the victims of the virus. A dark thought, I know.

Following on from the closure of Bondi Beach yesterday, Manly beach was also closed due to the coronavirus fears. Sad times, but a necessity to stem the spread of the virus. The law states that no gatherings of more than 500 people are to be allowed. There were well over 1000 on the beach in the morning.

A photo on Manly beach with no tourists. The beach has been closed to stop the possible spread of coronavirus
Manly main beach is shut in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19

Around lunchtime there was a new government announcement that as of Monday at midday “all pubs, restaurants, cafes, casinos, sporting venues and cinemas will shut down across Australia”. They estimate this could be in place for up to six months. So naturally, we headed to 4Pines for a farewell beer.

A picture of two beers in 4Pines brewery in Manly
Four Pines in Manly, will be shut from midday on Monday, along with all other pubs and non-essential businesses across the nation

This evening: Both the Ruby Princess cruise ship and Bondi beach crowds (which I’ve alluded to in my recent posts) have been identified as the source of clusters of cases of Coronavirus.

At the time of writing the number of cases globally now stands at more than 330,000. Cases in Australia are at 1300, up more than 200 in the past 24 hours. Around half of these cases are in New South Wales.

Buckle-up folks. It’s going to be a tough ride for us all.

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