Hundreds of Brit backpackers have been threatened with deportation after they were spotted partying at an Australian beach on Christmas Day.
Footage of young revellers flouting the local coronavirus restrictions was shared on social media, enraging Sydney officials as the city grapples with a new outbreak.
A case of Covid-19 was recorded a week before Christmas after months with no local cases.
This prompted Sydney to re-introduce clampdowns on holiday gatherings and putting the Northern Beaches into a total lockdown.
Yet hundreds of backpackers ignored the rules and flocked to Bronte Beach on December 25 to drink and dance, many wearing Santa hats but without a mask in sight.
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Witnesses claim to have heard "lots of clearly English accents" and seen revellers wearing football jumpers, the BBC reports.
Videos show police officers attempting to disperse the crowds but no penalties were issued to anyone at the Bronte Beach gathering, which has angered some critics who say they got off more lightly than locals.
"As an aboriginal person I've had a bag of unopened alcohol tipped out on the ground walking home because I looked drunk," one man remarked on Twitter.
Australia's Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he was "shocked" by the scenes and warned partygoers could face deportation.
"If somebody is threatening public safety or health, their visa can be cancelled and revoked," he said.
He didn't expand on how authorities might identify and track down the rule-breakers.
New South Wales state health minister Brad Hazzard said the unlawful event was a potential "super spreader".
"It is absolutely appalling to see what was clearly a group of people, a large gathering of people, who didn't give a damn about the rest of Sydney," he told media.
Australian citizens have also slammed the backpackers for their actions, especially after law-abiding Sydney residents were prevented from seeing their families over Christmas.
"It's time ALL backpackers were sent home #BronteBeach," one Twitter user said.
"This is not acceptable…..time to shut the gate if they are going to risk us since a new strain of Covid was discovered in Sydney."
"Why are the British still travelling at a time like this???" another asked.
In April Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was time for Brit tourists to "make their way home" after backpackers were caught flouting social gathering rules.
There have been 28,300 Covid-19 cases and 909 deaths in Australia since the beginning of the pandemic, considerably fewer than other western nations.
This was largely put down to swift border closures and a harsh lockdown which helped the country "flatten the curve" and contain outbreaks early on.
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