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Australia ADF deploys in west Sydney lockdown zones

02:11  30 july  2021
02:11  30 july  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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ADF troops have assisted the Victorian government with managing its revamped hotel quarantine system since the state resumed taking international arrivals last December. Whether or not the Daniel Andrews government had rejected an offer of ADF support for running its initial, botched quarantine NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller has made a plea for help to the Australian Army as Sydney prepares for another month of lockdown . Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De MarchiSource:News Corp Australia. A Defence spokesman previously told news.com.authat more than 3000 ADF personnel

The ADF has previously been deployed across Australia to support Covid border restrictions and to manage hotel quarantine facilities, working to prevent new strains of coronavirus from being imported into the country. The decision to call in the military was paired with an announcement that police will be granted expanded powers, including having the right to close businesses The deployment of soldiers and expansion of police powers comes as Sydney reported a record number of new daily infections on Thursday, with 239 new cases, the highest single-day figure since the start of the pandemic.

The military will join NSW Police in the areas worst hit by Sydney's COVID-19 outbreak to ensure two million residents are complying with NSW government lockdown restrictions.

a close up of Gladys Berejiklian: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warns more record COVID-19 numbers are expected in coming days. © Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian warns more record COVID-19 numbers are expected in coming days.

But people shouldn't be intimidated by the presence of 300 Australian Defence Force personnel in the streets of western and southwest Sydney, Defence Minister Peter Dutton says.

"All of us feel for those in lockdown in NSW, we want people to be out of lockdown and back to their normal lives as quickly as possible," Mr Dutton told reporters on Friday.

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A local councillor in one of Sydney ’s most heavily locked - down council areas has said that the decision to bring in the army is “really troubling”. Charishma Kaliyanda, a Labor councillor on the Liverpool council, said resources should be put into “greater “The decision was made based on the current situation in Victoria,” the Tasmanian public health director, Mark Veitch, said in a statement reported by AAP. “Public health responses and lockdown have identified cases and limited onward spread, such that almost all recent cases were already in quarantine before they became infectious.”

“The assistance of the ADF has been essential over the past 18 months – particularly during last year’s border operation, the ongoing hotel quarantine operation and the assistance provided with logistics support in the Police Operations Centre.” NSW Police Minister David Elliott said the military had an effective and functional relationship with police. Last week, Mr Fuller said NSW had passed up an offer of Defence Force assistance in early July because transmission in south- west Sydney was taking place between household contacts, not in public places, and police already had an operation in motion.

"I want the presence of the ADF personnel to be a message of assurance."

As NSW braces for new case numbers to top Thursday's high-water mark of 239, police will begin knocking on doors in eight council areas in Sydney's west, looking for people in homes other than their own.

Police will also target businesses across the city breaching public health orders, including those in the construction industry allowed to reopen from Saturday.

Their efforts will be supported in the coming days by the ADF members, who begin deploying on Friday for training before commencing work on Monday.

Up to 55 per cent of the 588 cases reported in the past three days have been infectious while in the community.

Police Commissioner Mick Fuller told ABC radio on Friday the presence of the ADF would help officers double their workload, particularly for checking close contacts are isolating.

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Life in locked down Sydney is about to get even worse for nearly two million residents in the city's Covid 'hot zones ', living under harsher restrictions than they were forced to endure when the pandemic first began. Despite five gruelling weeks of stay-at-home orders, case numbers are continuing to surge with 177 locally acquired infections on Wednesday, bringing the total With eight local government areas in the city's west and south- west under tougher restrictions than the rest of the city from Thursday, one mayor warned the lockdown was 'Armageddon' for struggling workers and their families.

'The assistance of the ADF has been essential over the past 18 months – particularly during last year's border operation, the ongoing hotel quarantine operation and the assistance provided with logistics support in the Police Operations Centre,' Commissioner Fuller said. 'With an increase in enforcement activity over the coming week, I have now made a formal request to the Prime Minister This follows NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's admission that she should have locked Sydney down sooner as NSW suffered 239 new cases, just a day after extending the city's lockdown for another four weeks.

But he stopped short of saying there would be random checks on homes.


Video: Victoria still waiting to hear when lockdown will end (ABC NEWS)

NSW Police Minister David Elliott said the ADF would be on the ground in western and southwest Sydney for as long as they are needed, whether for "two weeks" or "two months".

The military has supported hotel quarantine policing, logistics in the Police Operations Centre and compliance during a 2020 border operation.

But its involvement in a civil obedience campaign raised concern for the Australian Lawyers Alliance.

"We understand that public health emergencies require the government to take extraordinary measures but using the military to enforce local laws sets a dangerous precedent," ALA spokesman Greg Barns SC said.

Mr Fuller said he recognised the presence of the ADF in southwest and western Sydney - the city's most diverse areas - could cause some consternation, but said it was not unique.

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Will the week long lockdown in four Sydney LGAs be enough to stop the spread? As the contact tracers scramble to get the outbreak under control, there's concern the partial lockdown doesn't go far enough. As the ABC's Norman Swan explains, the cases being detected outside of the inner-city suburbs suggest stricter measures might be needed. "This will support the current vehicle patrols around the NSW border working to identify car registration details and vehicles who may have travelled from NSW, including those who may have been in a red zone ," Victoria Police said in a statement.

A mayor in Sydney ’s west has taken aim at the lockdown extension referring to it as “Armageddon” for many residents. The NSW government announced on Wednesday lockdown will be extended for a further four weeks until August 28. Steve Christou, mayor of Cumberland Council in Sydney ’s west , has called the extension “a point of no return”. “Families and businesses in western Sydney have struggled through the first five weeks, only to be told they will be burdened with another four weeks,” Cr Christou said in a statement.

"We've had defence personnel walking the streets of the Sydney CBD since the end of March last year," he said.

"Our country people have seen defence on the streets, helping clear roads and a whole range of other activities post-bushfires."

The two million people in the eight western Sydney local government areas, covering places like Fairfield, Cumberland and Canterbury-Bankstown, can't leave those areas unless they are essential workers.

Masks are also mandatory at all times - including outdoors - and people are banned from going more than five kilometres from their home.

Sydney's lockdown enters its sixth week on Saturday, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian admitting cases will keep rising given the high number of people infectious while in the community.

"We can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better," the premier said on Thursday.

But she's rejected suggestions her government failed by imposing restrictions too late and too gradually.

NSW is expected to receive extra support from interstate after an emergency meeting of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Sydney Super Dome at Olympic Park will reportedly become a vaccination hub for year 12 students in hotspot areas, ahead of their return to school on August 16.

Sydney's 'road map to freedom' includes outdoor dining, gyms and children in classrooms .
But restrictions won't be lifted until at least 50 per cent of the adult population is vaccinated.Sydney's path out of lockdown could include outdoor dining, the reopening of gyms and students back inside classrooms, once a majority of adults get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

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