Australia

'Doesn't make sense': NSW premier urged to ban crowds from cricket test

Day three of the second Test Match between Australia and India at The MCG, Melbourne on 28 December, 2020. Source: AAP

The Australian Medical Association and the NSW Opposition are imploring the NSW Premier to ban crowds from the upcoming cricket test.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is under increasing pressure to ban crowds from attending the Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, after backflipping on mandating masks.

After weeks of calls from various groups to mandate compulsory masks, Ms Berejiklian announced on Saturday that residents of Greater Sydney will be required to wear masks in certain indoor settings.

The Australian Medical Association welcomed the move, but said it was also time to reconsider the decision to proceed with the upcoming Australia-India Test match to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground before crowds.

"This is a potential transmission site, as people queue at the ticket gates, at food and beverage stalls and use shared toilet facilities – on top of taking public transport from all parts of Sydney to gather in one central location," AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid said in a statement.

"The decision to hold the Test match with spectators is at odds with the rest of NSW’s appropriate response to the latest outbreak.

"The NSW Government is sensibly encouraging people to limit non-essential gatherings and reduce their travel. In this context, the decision to allow this sporting event to go ahead with a large crowd suggests that this event is important enough to justify the risk to the health of NSW people and all Australians."

NSW Labor also renewed calls for the cricket test to be played without crowds.

"It doesn’t make sense to allow 24,000 people to attend the cricket when we have unknown clusters and increasing cases," Opposition leader Jodi McKay said.

"It may or may not be a super-spreader event, we just don't know. But it could put the rest of NSW at risk."

However, Premier Berejiklian defended the move on Saturday.

"We appreciate what people might say about us continuing to hold those events, but also consider the thousands of jobs it keeps, consider the sense of normality it gives us," Ms Berejiklian said.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus. Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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