Australia’s largest city Sydney on Thursday registered its highest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases, Reuters reported. The Australian government has decided to deploy military in the New South Wales state to enforce a lockdown poised to enter its sixth week. Sydney is the capital of the New South Wales state.

The state recorded 239 cases in the past 24 hours in the biggest daily rise since the pandemic begun. One person died in the past 24 hours, taking the death count from the current outbreak to 13 and the country’s toll to 921.

“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.

New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller had made a formal request to the Australian government for deployment of 300 defence force personnel, the Sydney Morning Herald reported. The Australian Defence Force will assist with enforcement of Sydney’s lockdown

The government has also announced a toughening of police powers to enforce Covid-19 related restrictions. Fines for not wearing masks have been increased from $200 (Rs 14,854) to $500 (Rs 37,135). Fuller said that more emphasis will be placed on compliance of Covid-19 guidelines rather than giving people warnings and educating them about the rules, The Guardian reported.

Under the new rules, people cannot leave a five-kilometre radius for shopping unless the products are not readily accessible in that area.

Covid-19 in Australia

Australia has reported 33,536 coronavirus cases and 921 deaths due to the infection till now. A Delta variant cluster has spread from Sydney to the states of Victoria and South Australia states, AP reported.

Sydney is in the middle of its fifth week of a nine-week lockdown, which is scheduled to end on August 28. The lockdown threatens to push the country’s economy into a recession for the second successive year, according to Reuters. New South Wales accounts for more than a third of Australia’s economy.