Coronavirus crisis: NSW Police request army support in enforcing Sydney’s COVID lockdown
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says he has formally asked for support from the Australian Defence Force to enforce COVID-19 restrictions in Greater Sydney.
Commissioner Fuller on Thursday afternoon confirmed his request for 300 army personnel, after the state recorded 239 new local cases of the virus and authorities introduced harsher restrictions for eight local government areas.
In a statement, NSW police said they would “significantly” expand their compliance operation “over the coming days” to clamp down on any rule breaking as Sydney enters another month of strict stay-at-home rules.
The city’s lockdown has been extended at least until August 28 and health officials are struggling to contain the spread of the Delta variant that caused the current outbreak.
Commissioner Fuller said he had now made the formal request to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whom he thanked for his “ongoing support”.
He said the army had assisted NSW police during the pandemic with hotel quarantine, policing the Victorian border during Melbourne’s stage 4 lockdown, and with other logistics support.
ADF troops have assisted the Victorian government with managing its revamped hotel quarantine system since the state resumed taking international arrivals last December.
Whether or not the Daniel Andrews government had rejected an offer of ADF support for running its initial, botched quarantine program became a major point of contention during an inquiry into the way it was run.
Earlier this month, the defence force refuted claims it rejected a direct plea for help from Victoria Police to keep the current Sydney outbreak from spreading into the southern state.
A Defence spokesman previously told news.com.au that more than 3000 ADF personnel had been deployed to Victoria since March 2020 to assist with the state’s pandemic response.
NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott welcomed Commissioner Fuller’s fresh request for assistance.
“As I have said previously, support from the army will add another line of defence to the NSW Government’s crackdown on COVID-19 compliance,” he said.
Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s office and the Department of Defence have been contacted for comment.
Originally published as NSW Police request ADF support in enforcing Sydney’s lockdown
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