NSW suffered its worst day of the pandemic yesterday with 466 new local cases and four deaths, prompting Premier Gladys Berejiklian to unveil a police operation to enforce lockdown compliance across Sydney.
The entire state was later plunged into a seven-day lockdown, which was announced suddenly via social media, giving regional residents little time to prepare and sparking fury online. All 7.95 million NSW residents in are now in lockdown.
Under the stay-at-home orders across the state, anyone who leaves their home will need to have a reasonable excuse. They also cannot have visitors in their home from outside their household. All hospitality venues are closed to the public. Most retail premises are required to close.
People who leave their home are required to carry a mask with them at all times. They must be worn when working outdoors, by all school staff, by all people in outdoor markets, outdoor shopping strips, and in an outdoor queues.
The lockdown compliance operation will see police and Australian Defence Force officers enforce the state’s restrictions after officials blamed rule-breaking for the continued growth of the outbreak.
NSW now has 1400 Highway Patrol officers across the state working solely on enforcing compliance. Drivers have been told to expect more roadblocks, where police will be checking identification and proof of address.
“These are some of the strongest laws, with some of the strongest police action coming. I am not apologetic,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said on Saturday.
“Please don’t write in and complain to me. We have given ample warnings and cautions, and that time has gone.”
According to Fuller, movement within the Greater Sydney region still remains too high, and “getting compliance from some members of the community” has been difficult.
In reminding residents of the lockdown rules and the harsh new fines for breaching state health orders, Berejiklian said “the buck stops with me”.
“For a long time, nearly a year and a half, we were different to the rest of the world,” she said.
“And now, we are not different from the rest of the world. The Delta strain is diabolical, and we have to accept and be real about that.”
Victoria has recorded 25 new local cases of Covid-19, with all but four of those cases linked to known outbreaks.
Only 12 of the new cases had been in isolation throughout their infectious period.
Health authorities remain concerned about a number of mystery cases across the city as investigations continue into the source of twelve infections.
“We are very concerned about what we’re seeing across Melbourne,” Victoria’s coronavirus Response Deputy Secretary Kate Matson said on Saturday.
It comes as Health Minister Martin Foley urged people to get tested and announced more drive-through vaccination hubs would be opened in the city’s north, west and southeast.
He also said three people were in hospital with the virus and one of those is in intensive care.
Victoria’s list of exposure sites has ballooned to nearly 500, many of them in Melbourne’s west but a number also in inner Melbourne.
There are now more than 14,000 primary close contacts in isolation.
Melbourne’s lockdown, scheduled to end on Thursday, is very likely to be extended into a third week.
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