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Australia Brings in Military to Enforce Sydney Lockdown

PM unveils 4-step plan to reopen country
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2021 10:48 AM CDT
Australia Brings in Military to Enforce Sydney Lockdown
Police tape is seen at a locked down apartment building at Devitt Street in the southwestern suburb of Blacktown in Sydney, Wednesday, July 28, 2021.   (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

(Newser) – In Australia's biggest city, the fight against a COVID outbreak that spread from an unmasked airport limo driver is not going well. The five-week Sydney lockdown was recently extended for another month and with case numbers remaining stubbornly high, the military is being called in to enforce restrictions, CNN reports. Officials say around 300 soldiers will spend the weekend training before beginning unarmed patrols in the city Monday, reports the BBC. New South Wales police commissioner Mick Fuller said the soldiers, who will be under police command, will visit homes to ensure people who have tested positive are isolating. They will also enforce rules including a requirement that people travel no more than 6 miles from home for exercise.

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Restrictions are harsher in the city's low-income, ethnically diverse western suburbs, and local leaders say residents feel targeted. "They can't afford to pay the mortgage, the rent, the food, or work," says local mayor Steve Christou. "Now to throw out the army to enforce lockdown on the streets is going to be a huge issue to these people." Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a four-step plan to reopen Australia Friday, but there was no firm timeline, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. The four phases are suppression, transition, consolidation, and the final phase. The country is now in the suppression phase. It will move to transition, with lockdowns still possible but vaccinated people exempt from some restrictions, when 70% of adults are fully vaccinated, Morrison said. The rate is currently just 17%. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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