By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Some 300 army personnel began door-to-door visits in Australia’s largest city to ensure people testing positive were isolated at their homes.
They also accompanied police officers patrolling areas of Sydney where officials said most coronavirus cases occurred. Footage showed the police asking the few people why they were out of their homes in the largely deserted streets in Sydney’s southwest.
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.
The measures came as the official national total death toll rose by one to 925 on a population of some 26-million people. The latest recorded COVID-19 death was a man in his 90s who died in Sydney.
Australia is among several countries in the Asia-Pacific region to enforce more lockdowns, with governments expressing concern about the new “highly contagious Delta variant.”
Outside Australia, the Philippines will send more than 13 million people in the national capital region back into lockdown this week after already taking similar measures in central Cebu province. The army and other security forces are often used for these operations, raising concerns among rights activists, Worthy News established.
“We had to make this difficult decision to save more lives,” President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said on government television.
The Manila capital region, a sprawl of 16 cities home to more than 13 million people, will be placed under the tightest quarantine curbs from August 6 to 20, he stressed.
The latest lockdown, which is calculated to cost the economy $4 billion, will mean people cannot leave their homes, except for essential shopping, while indoor and al fresco dining is banned.
Millions of people have already lost their jobs, and a growing number of families are hungry due to the previous coronavirus restrictions, Worthy News learned.
Authorities say the country is battling “the second-worst coronavirus outbreak” in Asia.
The Philippines has recorded over 1.58 million COVID-19 cases and 27,722 deaths on a population of nearly 111-million.
Within Philippines hospitals, there are doubts about the figures, with well-informed sources telling Worthy News that hospitals often falsely attributed COVID-19 as the reason for death.
Authorities deny wrongdoing. “Delta is all over Metro Manila already. This is proper intervention,” said Benjamin Abalos, chairperson of the capital’s council of mayors.
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