Sydney, Australia, Aug 14 (EFE).- The Australian police will strengthen its presence in Greater Sydney to ensure compliance with Covid-19 restrictions, including its strict lockdown that will be extended across regional New South Wales on Saturday evening.
An additional 500 police officers will join the 300 already deployed to the area, which is under tight restrictions until Aug. 27.
The police presence will serve, among other tasks, to monitor roads in order to ensure that people who try to leave Greater Sydney have the required permits to go into regional NSW, the most populous state in the country.
On Saturday, the Greater Sydney lockdown was extended to regional NSW to “minimise movement and protect our communities from the evolving COVID situation in Sydney,” the state’s deputy premier John Barilaro said.
Around 8 million people, almost a third of the country’s population, are affected by the lockdown which forces all residents to stay home, with few exceptions to leave temporarily.
Despite the severe restrictions in place for a month and a half, the outbreak continues to increase – on Saturday the health authorities reported 466 cases and four deaths in the state.
“This is the largest jump we have seen in a night. It’s fair to say that we are extremely concerned about the situation that we’re in,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a press conference.
The city of Melbourne, with 5 million inhabitants and where 21 new cases were reported Saturday, and the capital, Canberra, are also under lockdown until at least Thursday.
Australia has accumulated some 38,500 local cases, including 952 deaths, since the start of the pandemic, and so far it has fully vaccinated 25 percent of the target population. EFE