Australia Covid chaos: Delta strain warning as police send in helicopters to clear beaches

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In Australia, the armed forces and thousands of police officers have been tasked to enforce a “zero Covid” lockdown. The capital, Sydney, is currently under strict stay-at-home lockdown restrictions to try to curb the Delta strain of the virus. But, a top doctor has warned there is a “close to zero” chance of stopping the Delta variant in the nation and a larger roll-out of the AstraZeneca vaccine must be used to halt surging cases.

Professor Bruce Robinson, chairman of Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, is calling for a rapid vaccine rollout across the nation.

He said: “The chance of eliminating this is close to zero.

“There are many people I have spoken to who share that view.

“We might suppress it but we will be really unlikely to eliminate it.

“This is because we see people who are clearly infectious without knowing it and they’re out and about.”

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: “The Government is constantly being assailed by scientists whose forecasts seem to be around fulfilling a purpose, keeping us in lockdown.

“We are in a state of unreality, it’s as though we don’t need an economy, we don’t need to meet each other, we don’t need to do anything that makes life worthwhile. But we do.”

The situation is made more dangerous because only 17.73 percent of Australian adults have been fully vaccinated.

Around 39.46 percent of Australians have received their first dose, but 39.5 percent of the over 70s have received both jabs.

To enforce strict rules, police helicopters have been clearing beaches to help stop the spread of the virus.

It is currently winter in the southern hemisphere, but temperatures rose to 25C in Sydney, bringing many people onto the Coogee and Bondi beaches.

Responding to crowds, the New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian called for police support.

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A police helicopter was filmed swooping low over Gordon’s Bay as a warning was issued.

In the footage, which was later posted on social media, the police loudspeakers were heard saying: “Will everyone congregating in Gordon’s Bay please move on.

“The local police have been notified and will be attending shortly.

“Anyone breaching the public health order will be issued a fine.”

A New South Wales Police spokesman said: “Nearly 1,000 people were spoken to, ensuring they were complying with the LGA requirement.

“Officers were also enforcing QR codes at large retailers at Maroubra, Bondi and Eastgardens.”

Ms Berejiklian has been pleading with Sydney residents to only leave their home for essentials, such as exercise, shopping, vital work or to get vaccinated.

She announced: “Assume that you have the virus, or that people you come into contact with have the virus.

“We can’t afford to have people who have the virus going about their business.”

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