The Australian government sent 300 soldiers to the areas most affected by the CCP virus to prevent people from leaving their homes more than once a day, as well as to knock on the doors of people who tested positive for the virus to make sure they are isolated, the Daily Mail reported.
The government’s order to use the military to enforce the lockdowns was first reported by the Irish Times on July 31.
On Friday, August 6, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent about 300 soldiers to the areas of Sydney with the largest immigrant population, about eight districts in the west of the city—where 2 million people live, and most of the new cases have been recorded—to prevent people from leaving their homes more than once, and to break up large gatherings.
The move comes in response to the growing number of positive COVID cases of the so-called ‘Delta’ strain from India as part of Australia’s ‘Zero COVID’ strategy as the government seeks to eliminate transmission of the virus completely.
The areas where the military will force the government’s hand are impoverished, mostly ‘non-Australian’ immigrant neighborhoods with a very low vaccination rate—13 percent—to which the authorities attribute the higher number of positive cases in these areas.
For epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaw this is due to the language barrier and poor Internet access.
Steve Christou, mayor of Cumberland, where 60 percent of its 240,000 residents are foreign-born, criticized the government’s move and accused it of not knowing what they are doing.
“They’ve got no other ideas than to bring in the military as a last resort because they’re lost for answers on issues they created,” the mayor told the Irish Times.
“They are a poor community, they are a vulnerable community, and they don’t deserve these lockdowns or these extended and harsh measures that they have now been targeted with,” Christou added.
Since March 2020, Australians have been banned from overseas travel. Except for Australians living overseas, few people have been able to enter what is one of the countries with the tightest restrictions to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Despite being in its sixth week of strict lockdowns, the country has seen a record number of infections, a possible indicator that the lockdowns are ineffective in containing the virus.
About 16 million Australians, nearly two-thirds of the population, are under strict lockdown under the government’s new measures.
“Australia’s ‘Zero Covid’ strategy has allowed us to escape the worst of the pandemic so far: our death toll has been among the world’s lowest, our recession among the shortest,’ said a recent report from the Grattan Institute, a public policy think tank.
“‘We’ve faced fewer restrictions on our daily lives than almost anywhere else. But we have paid a heavy price. We are shut off from the rest of the world, and we have frequently been locked down. Australians have supported a hard-line approach, but they are also tired and frustrated [of lockdowns].”
According to the Daily Mail, vaccination in Australia, considered a wealthy country, has not gone smoothly.
The country manufactured its own vaccine in collaboration with the University of Queensland, but after administering it, patients tested positive for HIV, and its distribution was canceled.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine is also manufactured in Australia, but apparently, Australians do not trust its efficacy and favored receiving Pfizer’s vaccine.
As the government purchased few doses from Pfizer, Australia has only 20 percent of its population vaccinated.