Sydney cops ask for army help to enforce lockdown; cases hit record

SYDNEY : The police in Sydney have requested military help to enforce a coronavirus lockdown as infections reacheda record 239 new cases yesterday.

This takes the total to 2,810.

Commissioner Mick Fuller said New South Wales police had asked for 300 Australian Defence Force personnel to be deployed "to boost their operational footprint".

The city of five million people is in its fifth week of a lockdown that is set to run until the end of next month.

Stay-at-home orders have failed to reduce new infections to zero and compliance has been patchy.

Sydney residents are allowed to leave their homes only for exercise, essential work, medical reasons, and to shop for necessities such as food.

But for weeks, parks and beach promenades have been filled with people drinking coffee and chatting with friends.

The police have increasingly been doling out fines and Mr Fuller said this would be stepped up.

"We can only assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better, given the quantity of people infectious in the community," New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

Only about 17 per cent of people aged above 16 are fully vaccinated in the state but Prime Minister Scott Morrison said vaccinations alone would not end the lockdown.

"The low rates (of vaccination) we have had there need to lift and that will certainly help... but on its own it won't stop the lockdown," Mr Morrison told Nine News yesterday, saying tougher curbs were also needed. - AFP, REUTERS