Covid-19: New South Wales in ‘worst situation’, state premier says.

Australian police hiked fines for people breaking lockdown rules in Sydney and the rest of its home state on Saturday. Strict stay-at-home orders were extended statewide amid a record jump in daily new Covid-19 infections.

State police will fine up to A$5,000 (€3,120) for anyone breaching stay-at-home orders or for lying to contract-tracing officials, said state premier Gladys Berejiklian. Previously breaching quarantine orders had carried a A$1,000 fine.

“We have to accept that this is the worst situation New South Wales has been in since day one. And it’s also regrettably, because of that, the worst situation Australia’s been in,” she told a news conference.

Locally transmitted infections surged by a record 466 over the previous 24 hours, eclipsing the previous daily high of 390 set on Friday. Four deaths were recorded on Saturday, taking the state’s total in the latest outbreak to 42.

It is becoming increasingly unlikely Sydney will end its nine-week lockdown on August 28th as planned. Authorities had been talking about easing some restrictions if enough people are vaccinated and case numbers fall.

“We will get through this, but September and October are going to be very difficult,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“This is literally a war, and we’ve known we’ve been in a war for some time, but never to this extent.”

Hundreds more defence personnel will be deployed next week to Sydney to help enforce the lockdown, with authorities particularly concerned about the spread of the virus to several regional towns.

A new A$3,000 fine will apply to people entering rural areas without an official permit, while stay-at-home orders were introduced for seven days in regional areas not currently in lockdown.

Weddings and funerals will get a day “grace period” and will be allowed on Sunday, but schools across the state will close, officials said.

The head of the Australian Retailers Association, Paul Zahra, said the state-wide lockdown would come as a shock to many regional towns and could cost the economy A$1.5 billion per week.

The permit to enter rural areas will only be granted for certain reasons including authorised work, property inspections or urgent work 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 New South Wales police commissioner Mick Fuller. “Those people that have been getting around the orders, taking family vacations to other premises – that is over.”

In neighbouring Victoria, where state capital Melbourne is in its second week of an extended lockdown, authorities reported 21 locally acquired cases, up from 15 a day earlier.

Despite the recent outbreaks, Australia still has far lower Covid-19 numbers than many other countries in the developed world, with just over 38,600 cases and 952 deaths. – Reuters

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

North Korea fires bizarre railway-borne missile system in latest weapons test.

North Korea fires bizarre railway-borne missile system in latest weapons test.

NORTH Korean dictator Kim Jong-un last night unveiled his country's latest missile launch system - from a train. The rogue state announced it had tested its “railway-borne missile system” yesterday with warheads flying 497 miles before striking a ...

Gutfeld calls out mainstream media for defending Gen.

Gutfeld calls out mainstream media for defending Gen.

'Gutfeld!' panel reacts to the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman's calls with a Chinese general #FoxNews #Gutfeld Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news...

ASOS targets net zero carbon emissions by 2030

ASOS targets net zero carbon emissions by 2030

Online fashion retailer ASOS has set a target of net zero carbon emissions across the supply chain by 2030. Chief Executive Nick Beighton spoke to Sky's Ian King about its news sustainability strategy. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more vid...

Germany's COVID vaccination rate stagnates at 62% - DW News.

Germany's COVID vaccination rate stagnates at 62% - DW News.

Germany has launched another push to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID 19. Just over 60 percent of people here have been jabbed - far fewer than in some other European nations. The majority of patients in intensive care are UNvaccin...

CBSN Originals - Ghost Light: The Year Broadway Went Dark.

CBSN Originals - Ghost Light: The Year Broadway Went Dark.

"From the ushers and stagehands to conductors, writers and actors, the Broadway community spent more than a year without knowing when they’d be back to work. In the absence of a paycheck during the COVID-19 pandemic, many were forced to leave thei...

Joe Biden ‘FORGETS’ Australian PM’s name & calls him the ‘Fellow Down Under’ in latest gaffe.

Joe Biden ‘FORGETS’ Australian PM’s name & calls him the ‘Fellow Down Under’ in latest gaffe.

PRESIDENT Joe Biden appeared to forget the Australian Prime Minister's name and resorted to calling him the "Fellow Down Under." The latest gaffe came during the nuclear submarine announcement, with Britain and the US agreeing to help the Australi...