Australia threatens to deport backpackers for breaching coronavirus rules

Australia has threatened to deport backpackers who flout coronavirus rules after large crowds were seen partying on a Sydney Beach on Christmas Day.

Sydney is currently battling a new outbreak of the virus after months with no new cases.

Videos and images from the city’s Bronte Beach showed hundreds of people drinking and dancing without social distancing.

Bronte beach parties… not so much social distancing going on…

— Peter Hannam (@p_hannam) December 25, 2020

Speaking to ABC News, Australia Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said foreign visitors caught breaching the rules could be deported.

“Under the Migration Act, the Federal Government has powers to review and cancel visas for people that are threatening public health and safety,” he said.

“Visitors to Australia need to be very clear that if they breach public health orders, they are threatening the health and safety of Australians and the Federal Government will look at their visas.”

Visitors to this country should be aware that disobeying public health orders during the pandemic jeopardises the health and safety of others, and may threaten their visa status and end their stay in Australia.

— Alex Hawke MP (@AlexHawkeMP) December 28, 2020

He said the Australian Government would assess anyone on a temporary visa caught breaching the rules in the run-up to New Years’ Eve or in the past few days.

The Sydney outbreak has already grown to 129 cases in recent days.