The state of New South Wales on Saturday came after announcing 466 new cases – a new record – bringing the total number of infections this year to 12,903.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Bereglione called it the “most relevant day” of the pandemic and said the state was “blowing everything up”.
Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, has been closed for more than seven weeks and could be extended further; The state government has indicated that it will expire on August 28, but will impose restrictions until September.
According to Reuters, the Australian Ministry of Defense has received a request for additional staff to help police implement home isolation orders in the hardest-hit Sydney suburbs.
More than 500 military personnel are already assisting police in the city of about 5 million people, including overseeing compliance operations at hotels and airports. Starting Monday, an additional 200 employees will be added.
They will be part of the stay-at-home operation, also beginning Monday, that requires residents to be within 5 kilometers (about 3.1 miles) of their homes, Bereglian said Saturday.
According to state officials, fines for non-compliance will be increased, including a fine of A$5,000 (about $3,680) for violating home isolation, providing false information on a waiver permit or false tracking.
The fine for exercising in groups of more than two people and traveling to regional parts of the state is up to A$3,000 (about $2,200 USD).
Restrictions have also been introduced in other major Australian cities – at least 10 million people across the country now face restrictions, and make up about 40% of the country’s population.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has faced slow vaccine delivery, with 19.65% of the population fully vaccinated. This is well below the figures in the UK, US and EU – despite Australia’s small population.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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