SYDNEY, Aug.2 (Reuters) – Australian officials on Monday extended a three-day snap lockdown in the city of Brisbane and some neighboring areas as hundreds of military personnel began patrolling Sydney to help enforce the rules of COVID-19 lockdown.
Sydney, Australia’s largest city, is in its sixth week of lockdown as it grapples with a spike in infections that has added nearly 3,500 cases since the first was detected in a limo driver which transported airline crews abroad.
Officials in New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, have pleaded with residents to stay at home to avoid further surges and called on the military to help police enforce compliance after certain rules of lock challenged. Read more
Some 300 soldiers, who will not be armed and under police command, will go door to door to ensure that people who test positive isolate themselves at home.
After a steady rise in the number of new cases, lockdown rules in southeast Queensland, which includes Brisbane, will apply until Sunday as officials fear there are no more undetected cases in the community and urged residents to get tested. The restrictions were due to end on Tuesday evening.
Thirteen locally acquired cases were detected in the state of Queensland, up from nine a day earlier.
Australia is going through a cycle of stop and start lockdowns in several cities following the emergence of the rapidly evolving Delta strain and these restrictions are expected to persist until the country achieves higher vaccination coverage.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised lockdowns will be “less likely” once the country has inoculated 70% of its population over 16, which now stands at 19%. Morrison hopes to reach that mark by the end of the year. Read more
Although Australia’s vaccination campaign has lagged behind many other developed economies, it has so far fared much better by keeping its coronavirus count relatively low, with just under 34,400 cases and 924 deaths.
Report by Renju José; Editing by Kim Coghill and Michael Perry
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