As Australia keeps struggling to control the widespread Delta variant, stricter measurements are heralded.
On Monday, Aug. 2, the Australian state of Queensland (QLD) announced five more days of lockdown in Brisbane, the third-largest city in the country. The area had expected to be out of lockdown on Tuesday.
QLD, the second-biggest state in Australia and home to about 5.1 million people, on Monday reported 13 new locally COVID-19 infected patients in the past 24 hours. The number was said to be the record spike the state has witnessed in a year.
Citizens of QLD have only four reasons to leave their homes. They were encouraged to reduce their movement as much as possible and only go out for the most critical reasons, and masks are a must, Republic World reported.
“It’s starting to become clear that the initial lockdown will be insufficient for the outbreak,” QLD state Deputy Premier Steven Miles said in a statement, adding that schools would continue online until Aug. 8.
Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Noosa, Somerset, Lockyer Valley, and Scenic Rim were expected to follow the same protocols.
Meanwhile, in the most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), the total cases rose to 9171, with 209 new patients reported. Two hundred thirty-two patients were hospitalized, and 54 were in intensive care units. Fatalities in the state stood at 71.
Sydney, the NSW capital, also has to suffer an extended lockdown period, which had been in place since June 26. The state was ordered to remain at home until Aug. 28.
To further reinforce the lockdown, Sydney employed military forces together with the police to patrol the streets and ensure that citizens comply.
Their presence was partly linked to the protests that erupted in several parts of the country on July 24, as residents ran out of patience after consecutive days of lockdown.
During the protests, hundreds of troops in uniform were observed enforcing stay-at-home orders on disobedient locals, per Republic World. They took to the streets, with police knocking on doors looking for individuals who had broken the law.
The protest was expected to happen again last Saturday, July 31, but military enforcement had thwarted the gatherings.
On that morning, Michael Willing, the deputy police commissioner, laid the stage for a massive operation involving mounted police, helicopters, hefty fines, and an exclusion zone to keep potential demonstrators away, according to The Guardian.
Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., taxi and ridesharing companies were prohibited from driving customers into Sydney’s central business district, with fines of up to $500,000 for businesses and $100,000 for individuals convicted of violating the rules.
As of Monday, Reuters reported that nearly 300 unarmed army officers were making door-to-door checks to confirm that persons who have tested positive are isolated at home. They also accompanied police officers patrolling the Sydney neighborhoods with the highest rates of new COVID-19 cases.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had teased that lockdowns could be lifted if 70% of Australia’s citizens get vaccinated. However, our World In Data revealed that the country by Aug. 1 has only had 15.4% of its population fully vaccinated, and the amount of those receiving at least one jab was 33.2%.
Reuters said that Morrison expects the target to be achieved by the end of this year.