Despite being locked down for nearly a month now, Sydney has just reported a record one-day rise in local COVID cases on Thursday as public health authorities warned that the outbreak would likely worsen, inspiring them to once again turn to the Australian military for help.
According to Reuters, Sydney, Australia's most populous city, has struggled to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant with another economy-crippling lockdown. Instead, cases have continued to move higher, leading public health authorities to double down on their efforts to protect against a broader outbreak of the delta variant, believed to be far more infectious than other strains.
Sydney since the pandemic began. We should note that Australia's COVID issue has never really been all that bad: nationwide, the country of 26MM has counted fewer than 1,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, a far lower rate.
"We can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better given the quantity of people infectious in the community," said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
Berejiklian said one more person had died from COVID-19, taking the death toll from the current outbreak to 13, while the national death toll rose to 921.
But that won't stop her from calling in the military to help enforce an even more restrictive lockdown that will now be imposed on the southern end
With little sign that recent restrictions are reducing case numbers, Berejiklian said new curbs would be imposed on the southwestern and western parts of Sydney where the majority of COVID-19 cases are being found.
The more than 2MM residents living in eight Sydney "hotspots" will now be forced to wear masks outdoors and must stay within 5 km (3 miles) of their homes at all times. These tighter restrictions are set to begin on Friday, and the NSW Police have requested 300 military personnel to help enforce the lockdown orders, whether that's by handing out fines, or ensuring that those under the most restrictive quarantine orders don't violate them.
"With an increase in enforcement activity over the coming week, I have now made a formal request to the prime minister for (Australian Defence Force) personnel to assist with that operation," New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said in an emailed statement