Army patrols hit the streets of Sydney on Monday to help enforce coronavirus curbs, as Australia struggles to stop the Delta variant from spreading.
Queensland said it had detected 13 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours – the biggest one-day rise the state has recorded in a year. The lockdown of Brisbane, Australia’s third-biggest city, was due to end on Tuesday but will now stay in place until late on Sunday.
Brisbane’s lockdown was supposed to end Tuesday, August 3rd but has been extended till Sunday after 13 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases were detected in the past 24 hours; the biggest one-day rise the state has recorded in a year.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles of Queensland State told reporters in Brisbane that “It’s starting to become clear that the initial lockdown will be insufficient for the outbreak.”
Here’s an excerpt from Reuters report:
Although Australia’s vaccination drive has lagged many other developed economies, it has so far fared much better in keeping its coronavirus numbers relatively low, with just under 34,400 cases. The death toll rose to 925 after a man in his 90s died in Sydney.
Australia is going through a cycle of stop-start lockdowns in several cities after the emergence of the fast-moving Delta strain, and such restrictions are likely to persist until the country reaches a much higher level of vaccination coverage.
Prime Minister Morrison has promised lockdowns would be “less likely” once the country inoculates 70% of its population above 16 years of age – up from 19% now. Morrison expects to hit the 70% mark by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the lockdown of Brisbane and several surrounding areas comes as Sydney, the biggest city in the country, begins its sixth week under stay-at-home orders.
New South Wales state, home to Sydney, said on Monday it detected 207 COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours as daily new cases continue to linger near a 16-month high recorded late last week.
The state has recorded more than 3,500 infections since the outbreak begun in June, when a limousine driver contracted the virus while transporting an overseas airline crew, and has asked for military personnel to aid efforts to enforce the restrictions.
Some 300 army personnel, who will be unarmed and under police command, on Monday began door-to-door visits to ensure people who have tested positive are isolating at their homes. They also accompanied police officers patrolling the areas of Sydney where most COVID-19 cases have been recorded.
Footage published online showed police asking the few people encountered as to why they were out of their homes in the largely deserted streets in Sydney’s south west.
Brigadier Mick Garraway, who is leading the military deployment, sought to downplay the army’s presence on the streets of Sydney.
“I want to say right up front that we are not a law enforcement agency and that is not what we will be doing,” Garraway told reporters in Sydney.
The military would help in delivering food and setting up vaccination stations, he said.
Watch it here: Youtube/Citizen Free Press
Is this the free country that we once knew? People are now mandated to always wear masks and bring their identification so that when stopped by authorities, they can verify that you are within the allotted 10- kilometers of your residence. This is no longer freedom.
Papers please.. pic.twitter.com/OhO4f5Pios
— 🇦🇺Tam_7 (@SongbirdTam_83) August 1, 2021