Desperate NSW calls on ARMY to enforce hardcore lockdown on two million Sydneysiders after worst-ever Covid numbers
NSW has called in the Australian Defense Force to enforce the hardcore lockdown on two million Sydneysiders after the state recorded its worst Covid numbers ever.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller confirmed on Thursday that he has made a formal request to the federal government for ADF assistance with the ongoing Covid-19 compliance operation.
The NSW Police Force is significantly expanding its enforcement activities in Sydney in the coming days and has asked 300 ADF personnel to increase its operational footprint.
NSW has called in the Australian Defense Force to enforce hardcore lockdown on two million Sydneysiders after state recorded worst-ever Covid numbers
Commissioner Fuller said the NSW Police Force and the ADF had developed a close relationship during the pandemic.
“The ADF’s assistance has been essential over the past 18 months, particularly during last year’s border operation, the ongoing hotel quarantine operation and the assistance with logistical support at the police operations center,” said Commissioner Fuller.
“With an increase in enforcement activity over the next week, I have now made a formal request to the Prime Minister for ADF personnel to assist in that operation.
“I want to thank the Prime Minister for his continued support.”
Police and Emergency Services Secretary David Elliott welcomed the request for help.
“There is a long-standing and highly professional relationship between the NSW Police Force and the ADF,” Mr Elliott said.
“As I have said before, military support will add a new line of defense to the NSW government’s crackdown on Covid-19 compliance.
“The military’s unique skills and training have often been combined with that of our police officers to serve the people of NSW in times of crisis, such as the floods and severe bushfires we have experienced in recent years.
“This will be a functional, effective and dynamic team to fight this pandemic.”
This follows NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s admission that she should have locked up Sydney earlier, as NSW had 239 new cases, just a day after the city’s lockdown was extended by a further four weeks.
In a press conference on Thursday after the record increase in the number of infections, the prime minister was asked: ‘Do you want to admit that your strategy has failed, that you have failed?
After a pause in which she seemed shocked by the question from Sky News Australia’s Andrew Clennell and perhaps almost in tears, the distressed Prime Minister replied: ‘Well, we have stricter restrictions than any other state has ever had.’
She described the highly contagious Delta strain as a “game-changer” and later said, “I will never suggest we do everything right.”
“I don’t think any government around the world can say they’re doing everything right because there’s no rulebook,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison originally backed Ms Berejiklian when she refused to shut down in June – but he now says shutting down hard and early on just a few cases is the best move to fight the highly contagious Delta strain.
“Clearly lessons have been learned here, and that is the approach I expect states to take in the future,” he said on Wednesday.
At least 70 of the new locally acquired cases – which were found from a NSW pandemic record of 110,962 overnight tests – were contagious in the community.
NSW Health also confirmed the deaths of two more residents of the state from Covid-19 – a woman in her 90s and a man in his 80s from south-west Sydney.
Ms Berejiklian also announced that two million Sydney residents living in one of the eight LGA hotspots in the western and southwestern suburbs would be required to wear masks when they leave home.
Those areas are Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield, Liverpool, Blacktown, Cumberland, Parramatta, Campbelltown and Georges River.
As of midnight Saturday morning, residents in those LGAs are also not allowed to travel more than 5km from their home for essential shopping or to exercise.