Australian cities are bracing for another wave of Covid, mandating lockdowns and masks in Brisbane with the Army patrolling the streets of Sydney to enforce stay-at-home restrictions. What a time to be alive!

Reuters reports: Australia’s Queensland state on Monday extended a COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane, while soldiers began patrolling Sydney to enforce stay-at-home rules as Australia struggles to stop the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreading.

Brisbane’s lockdown was supposed to end Tuesday, August 3rd but has been extended till Sunday after 13 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases were detected in the past 24 hours; the biggest one-day rise the state has recorded in a year.

“It’s starting to become clear that the initial lockdown will be insufficient for the outbreak,” Queensland state Deputy Premier Steven Miles told reporters in Brisbane.

According to Reuters:

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Although Australia’s vaccination drive has lagged many other developed economies, it has so far fared much better in keeping its coronavirus numbers relatively low, with just under 34,400 cases. The death toll rose to 925 after a man in his 90s died in Sydney.

Australia is going through a cycle of stop-start lockdowns in several cities after the emergence of the fast-moving Delta strain, and such restrictions are likely to persist until the country reaches a much higher level of vaccination coverage.

Prime Minister Morrison has promised lockdowns would be “less likely” once the country inoculates 70% of its population above 16 years of age – up from 19% now. Morrison expects to hit the 70% mark by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the lockdown of Brisbane and several surrounding areas comes as Sydney, the biggest city in the country, begins its sixth week under stay-at-home orders.

New South Wales state, home to Sydney, said on Monday it detected 207 COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours as daily new cases continue to linger near a 16-month high recorded late last week.

The state has recorded more than 3,500 infections since the outbreak begun in June, when a limousine driver contracted the virus while transporting an overseas airline crew, and has asked for military personnel to aid efforts to enforce the restrictions.

Some 300 army personnel, who will be unarmed and under police command, on Monday began door-to-door visits to ensure people who have tested positive are isolating at their homes. They also accompanied police officers patrolling the areas of Sydney where most COVID-19 cases have been recorded.

Footage published online showed police asking the few people encountered as to why they were out of their homes in the largely deserted streets in Sydney’s south west.

Brigadier Mick Garraway, who is leading the military deployment, sought to downplay the army’s presence on the streets of Sydney.

“I want to say right up front that we are not a law enforcement agency and that is not what we will be doing,” Garraway told reporters in Sydney.

The military would help in delivering food and setting up vaccination stations, he said.

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The once free country is now “requesting” that if you venture out of your home, that you mask up and be sure to carry identification so that when stopped by authorities, they can verify that you are within the allotted 10- kilometers of your residence.

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