© AAP Image/DPA
People sunbathe at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia.
Extra Australian military personnel may be called in to ensure compliance with lockdown rules in Sydney, the New South Wales state government said on Thursday, as the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant spreads into regional areas.

The move comes as Australia's capital, Canberra, 260km southwest of Sydney, announced a snap one-week lockdown from Thursday evening after reporting its first locally acquired case of Covid-19 in more than a year.

Comment: One case in a region of 5 million people...

Australia is battling to get on top of the fast-moving Delta strain that has plunged two of its largest cities - Sydney and Melbourne - into hard lockdowns.

"We are making sure that we do not leave any stone unturned in relation to extra [military] resources," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said at a media conference in Sydney.

A spokesperson for Defence Minister Peter Dutton said the NSW government has indicated it would soon formally request additional military support.

Some 580 unarmed army personnel are already helping police enforce home-quarantine orders on households in the worst-affected suburbs of Sydney.

Several regional towns scattered across NSW have also been forced into snap lockdowns after fresh cases, raising fears the virus is spreading out of control.

Despite seven weeks of lockdown in Sydney, daily infections continue to hover near record highs. NSW on Thursday reported 345 new locally acquired cases, most of them in Sydney, up from 344 a day earlier.

Lockdown rules were tightened in three more local council areas in Sydney, limiting the movement of people to within 5km of their homes.

Officials also reported two deaths, two men in their 90s, taking the total deaths in the latest outbreak to 36. A total of 374 cases are in hospitals, with 62 in intensive care, 29 of whom require ventilation.

Comment: The average life expectancy for men in Australia is 81 years old...and just a week or so ago the lockdown in Sydney was enforced because of the deaths of 2 women in their 80's; surely even believers of this manufactured crisis can see the irrationality here?

Hong Kong, Australia's goal to eliminate Covid-19 'not sustainable', says infectious disease expert

Victoria state on Thursday reported 21 new locally acquired cases, up from 20 a day earlier, as 5 million residents of Melbourne, the state capital, prepare to enter a second week of lockdown.

Of the new cases, six spent time outdoors while infectious, a number which authorities have said must return to near zero before restrictions can be eased. Authorities on Wednesday extended the lockdown in Melbourne for another seven days until August 19.

Comment: Meanwhile scientists advising the British government are telling them that they simply have to learn to live with the relatively harmless coronavirus, because even those injected with the experimental vaccines can contract and infect others.

Australia has largely avoided the high coronavirus numbers seen in many other countries, with just over 37,700 cases and 946 deaths, and several states remain almost Covid-free despite the outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne. But the rapid spread of the Delta variant in New South Wales and a slow vaccine roll-out has left the country vulnerable to a new wave of infections. Only around 24 per cent of people above 16 years of age are fully vaccinated.

Comment: Australia has avoided coronavirus cases but at what cost? Shutting down life for millions of people and jeopardizing the functioning of their economy that, altogether, will result in the deaths of many more people ever would have from Covid?

Note that less than a quarter of the population have volunteered to be part of the injection experiment, clearly they don't see the coronavirus as a threat, nor do they seem to trust what's in those needles.

Meanwhile, neighbouring New Zealand, which has completely stamped out the coronavirus, on Thursday announced plans to cautiously reopen its borders to international travellers early next year. Officials also said they would delay second shots of the Pfizer vaccine so they can speed up first shots to protect more people as the threat of the Delta variant grows.

Comment: They've stamped out nothing. The coronavirus will simply surge into the country when the borders are opened, which, worryingly, may not be for another 6 months or more. Meanwhile, children in New Zealand are suffering unusual illnesses because of the brutal lockdown: Children in New Zealand falling ill after harsh lockdowns weaken immune systems

"While the pandemic continues to rage overseas, and the virus continues to change and mutate, the best thing we can do is lock in the gains achieved to date while keeping our options open," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Indonesia's rainy season heightens virus fears

As Indonesia grapples with a second wave of Covid-19 that caused infections to peak at over 50,000 new cases a day in July, the rainy season, which stretches from about September to April, could cast an even darker cloud over the country. There are fears that a combination of the second wave of infections and heavy flooding could overwhelm the health system, especially in rural areas.

Comment: MalagaBay's research seems to show a correlation with a surge in mortality that followed the beginning of Indonesia's mandatory injection program: The Battle for Bali and Beyond
© Malagabay

In Aceh province, on the northwest tip of Sumatra island, floods that hit the provincial capital of Banda Aceh this week left large parts of a hospital underwater, with images on social media showing its hallways, patient wards and Covid-19 isolation rooms underwater.

Indonesia is prone to frequent natural disasters such as severe flooding, landslides, fires and earthquakes.

"Natural disasters such as [the flooding in Aceh] are going to make the pandemic situation worse," said Dr Dicky Budiman, an Indonesian epidemiologist at Griffith University in Australia.

"If hospitals can't be accessed or they can't provide full health-care facilities for patients, it will cause the public to panic because people will not be able to access the care they need and it could end in more fatalities. Those who are already in hospital will also not be able to get the standard of care that they usually would and will need to be moved," Budiman said.

Comment: It's likely that, as has been the case in the West, unnecessarily diverting large portions of hospital resources to Covid will result in poorer care overall, and likely cause otherwise preventable deaths.

Indonesia has also reported more than 3.7 million cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic and more than 112,000 deaths, although the true numbers are thought to be higher due to under-reporting.

Expert says Tokyo situation is out of control

A member of a Tokyo Metropolitan Government coronavirus advisory panel of experts said it was now impossible to control the spread of Covid-19 in the Japanese capital.

"The infection is spreading at a pace not seen before and the number of new cases is increasing rapidly," Norio Omagari said at a Thursday panel meeting with Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike. "It's impossible to control the situation."

His comments came as the city and national governments consider whether to extend a state of emergency in Tokyo, which is experiencing its worst-ever wave of virus cases. The emergency is currently set to be lifted at the end of August.

Comment: So just as the state of emergency was due to be lifted, claims of 'cases' are being used to justify an extension? The same is true all over the planet; in Canberra, Australia, population 5 million, authorities used a SINGLE detected case as their reason to enforce lockdown for at least one more week.

The imposition of successive states of emergency has become less effective over time, with many bars and restaurants ignoring instructions to close early and stop serving alcohol.

Comment: Didn't the Japanese authorities just hold the Olympic games? Business owners can probably see the hypocrisy here.

Koike called for measures that would reduce the frequency of people's outings by 50 per cent, compared with the period immediately before the current emergency, echoing the advice of a government panel reported by public broadcaster NHK earlier in the day.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and other senior government officials have rejected the idea of European-style lockdowns to contain the virus, instead saying they are relying on the vaccine roll-out, and tightening restrictions on who can be hospitalised.

Comment: Japan has resisted harsh lockdowns since the beginning, and has fared better for it, just like Sweden, that also didn't lockdown at all.

Japan has fully vaccinated about 36 per cent of its population, compared with 60 per cent in the UK and 51 per cent in the US, according to Bloomberg's Vaccine Tracker.

Comment: It seems that a good 50% of people everywhere are avoiding the experimental injections for as long as they can. Hopefully that means there will be significant resistance to some of the other nefarious schemes the authorities have in mind.

Tokyo found 4,989 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday after hitting a record 5,042 last week, with the pace of infections appearing to level off. However, the number of patients in hospitals and those in serious condition is continuing to hit records, putting the capital's health care system under strain.

Japan's central government is considering extending the state of emergency into September, and expanding it to more regions, the Sankei newspaper reported earlier Thursday.

Thailand reports record 22,782 casesThailand on Thursday reported a record 22,782 new coronavirus cases, brining total infections to 839,771, data from the country's Covid-19 task force showed.

It also reported 147 new deaths, taking total fatalities to 6,942.

Infections in Malaysia jump

Malaysia reported 21,668 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, a new daily record.

Comment: This is likely correlated with the vaccine roll out.

The country has recorded more than 1.34 million cases overall.

Vietnamese man arrested for selling fake test certificates

Police in northern Vietnam have arrested a businessman for making and selling hundreds of fake negative Covid-19 test certificates, as the Southeast Asian country battles its worst outbreak yet.

A new wave of infections since late April has forced Vietnam to impose movement restrictions in a third of its cities and provinces, many of which require people to have negative certificates to move around.

Tran Tuan Duong, who runs a printing business in Bac Ninh province, was arrested on Wednesday while selling six certificates to a client for 1 million dong (US$43.86), the provincial police department said.

Duong, 34, confessed to police that he had sold around 150 such documents, including ones for swab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, according to a police statement on Thursday, which said further investigation was under way.

Comment: Even the 'official' testing companies have been exposed for fraudulent activity.

Vietnam has recorded more than 241,000 coronavirus infections and at least 4,487 deaths overall, with the vast majority of those in recent months, which followed a year of successful containment.