Soldiers monitor compliance with restrictions in the poor neighborhoods of the country’s largest city. Military surveillance has been the subject of strong criticism, especially among the indigenous population of Australia.
Australasia the defense forces have been alerted to aid in the “fight against the pandemic”. Over the weekend, about 300 soldiers arrived for training in the state of New South Wales. Since Monday, they have been patrolling Sydney and monitoring the implementation of the coronary embargo in the country’s most populous city.
In Sydney, people are only allowed to leave home for an essential reason. For example, it is allowed to buy food and medicine, as well as play sports outdoors. Even then, do not move more than ten kilometers from home.
Korona is most prevalent in the southern and southwestern parts of the city, where even stricter measures than the basic barrier are in place. In the areas of the toughest barrier, do not move five kilometers away from home, and there is also a mask compulsion outside.
Police have already focused surveillance on the areas of the toughest lockout and made more than 2,000 home visits. The purpose of the Defense Forces is to support the police both in handling home visits and other controls and in distributing protective equipment and food.
Minister of State for Police David Elliot has said that military help in Sydney is essential because a small number of city dwellers think “they are not affected by the rules”. The issue was reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, among others ABC and British Broadcasting BBC.
Australia was for a long time a model country in a pandemic-shaking world, as it managed to keep infections under control relatively well. In June, however, the disease situation began to deteriorate rapidly due to the delta variant.
Infections are strongly concentrated in the state of New South Wales, where Sydney is located. On Tuesday, 199 new infections were recorded in the state. A total of 223 infections were reported across the country on the same day, seven of which were in quarantined people in corona hotels.
The state had already provided military assistance to the state of New South Wales. However, it was only now that the state leadership saw the situation as bad that it accepted the aid.
Sydney was already in a coronary lock throughout July, but even tight restrictions have not prevented the spread of infections. The closure was originally scheduled to end on July 30, but now it will continue at least until August 28. The continued blockade caused dissatisfaction that escalated into violent demonstrations and clashes between police and protesters.
Read more: Australia delayed coronary vaccinations, and now there are not enough vaccines – Protests against restrictions escalated into violence over the weekend
The Sydney embargo will also have a significant impact on the economy of the island nation. This week, the country’s largest airline, Qantas, announced it would lay off 2,500 workers as the Sydney corona closure has reduced domestic tourism.
The state of New South Wales has been declared national emergency due to infections. Australia is working to prevent the cycle of infection by, among other things, targeting vaccines from other states to New South Wales.
Australia lags behind in vaccinations compared to Europe and the United States, for example. The island state suffers from a shortage of vaccines, which has been considered one of the reasons for the rapid spread of the delta variant. Currently, less than a third of the population has received the first dose of vaccine. More than 15 percent of people are fully vaccinated.
Australia has also relied on military assistance in many previous crises. The army has helped, for example, extinguish forest fires and flood situations. The Defense Forces have also been involved in corona operations. More than 200 soldiers have already been employed in the state of New South Wales, including Sydney Airport and a quarantine hotel.
The arrival of soldiers on the streets of Sydney has still provoked strong criticism. Particularly detrimental has been the fact that the activities of the Defense Forces are targeted at suburbs inhabited by large numbers of Australian indigenous peoples and refugees from the Middle East. The coronavirus has hit hardest working workers and large families in poorer areas of Sydney to the south and southwest.
Many indigenous peoples in Australia are skeptical of uniformed soldiers because they have bad memories of racism by the authorities, recalls Paul Daley British newspaper In the Guardian’s opinion paper.
“Our inhabitants are one of the poorest in the country, and therefore they already feel marginalized,” said in turn Local Mayor of Cumberland, West Sydney Steve Christou.
According to Christou, the New South Wales administration itself has caused the current situation in Sydney and the fact that the state leadership alerted the military to monitor the conditions it created itself shows that “they have lost their grip completely”.
Christou believes the defense forces should have arrived in the Sydney suburbs earlier, but to help with logistics such as the distribution of vaccines and food aid.
“The army exists to protect the people, not to be used against them.”