(Natural News) Stay-at-home orders in Sydney and its home state of New South Wales were extended Saturday, Aug. 14, after a record number of daily Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the region. As part of the extension, anyone caught violating stay-at-home orders now faces fines of up to $3,700.
At a news conference, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that fines for those who breached stay-at-home orders had been increased from AU$1,000 ($737) to AU$5,000 ($3,700).
“We have to accept that this is the worst situation New South Wales has been in since day one,” Berejiklian stated. “And it’s also regrettably, because of that, the worst situation Australia’s been in.”
Sydney lockdown to go beyond original Aug. 28 end date
Local authorities had been considering easing some restrictions as Sydney neared the end of its nine-week lockdown. But it’s become increasingly unlikely that the lockdown will end on Aug. 28 as originally planned. Locally transmitted infections surged to a record 466 on Saturday, Aug. 14, breaking the previous record of 390 that was set just the day before. In addition, four new coronavirus-related deaths were also reported on the same day.
“We will get through this, but September and October are going to be very difficult,” Berejiklian said during her press conference.
On top of the AU$5,000 fine, a new AU$3,000 fine will also be applied to people entering rural areas without an official permit. At the same time, new stay-at-home orders were introduced for seven days in regional areas not currently in lockdown. The permit to enter rural areas will only be granted for specific reasons, including authorized work, property inspections, or urgent repairs on a second home.
“The fines are some of the biggest fines that I’ve ever seen and we will be issuing them as of today,” said Mick Fuller, New South Wales police commissioner. “Those people that have been getting around the orders, taking family vacations to other premises – that is over.”
Schools in New South Wales will also close down due to the extended lockdown. Weddings and funerals, on the other hand, will get a “grace period” and will be allowed on Sundays.
Lockdowns to require additional military personnel despite backlash from citizens
The extended restrictions in Sydney and New South Wales come amid a wave of backlash against the initial lockdown.
In late July, thousands participated in protests to push back against the restrictions. The protests led Sydney police to arrest 57 people and issue 90 fines against protest participants. Protests also took place in other Australian cities, such as Melbourne, where one banner held by a protester read, “This is not about a virus it’s about total government control of the people.”
The protester’s concerns were fueled in part by the use of military personnel to enforce the lockdowns. Related: (These videos prove Australia is a Tyrannical police state.)
In Sydney, over 500 unarmed army personnel are already helping police enforce the lockdown. This includes helping monitor compliance activities in hotels and airports.
Now, to help enforce the restrictions, hundreds more defense personnel will be deployed to Sydney in the coming weeks. On Friday, Aug. 13, Australia’s Department of Defence confirmed that it had received a request for extra personnel to help support police efforts to enforce stay-at-home orders in Sydney’s worst-affected suburbs.
“Defence is preparing to deploy an additional 200 personnel commencing Monday … to assist NSW police force,” stated a defense department spokesperson told Reuters.
Meanwhile, Berejiklian compared the situation in NSW to a war. “This is literally a war, and we’ve known we’ve been in a war for some time, but never to this extent.”
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