Report: COVID-19 lockdowns in Sydney unfairly targeted blue-collar workers and immigrants
Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdowns in Sydney – the capital of Australia's New South Wales (NSW) state – unfairly targeted blue-collar workers and immigrants
, according to a report.
The Oct. 11 report was commissioned by the United Workers Union (UWU) alongside the Australian Catholic University
. It pointed out that during the country's wave of infections driven by the B16172 delta variant from June 21 to Oct. 24, 2021, the NSW government allegedly utilized faulty data modeling. The erroneous models argued that the proportion of residents employed in blue-collar jobs was the biggest driver of COVID-19 infections.
Two major factors in different NSW regions were linked to greater COVID-19 infections. First, those with a higher proportion of residents employed as technicians, tradesmen, machine operators, drivers and laborers. Second, those with a higher proportion of overseas-born workers who primarily spoke a language other than English at home.
According to the report, the state government under former Premier Gladys Berejiklian and incumbent Premier Dominic Perrottet utilized this faulty modeling as justification for draconian lockdowns in 12 Sydney local government areas (LGAs). These areas – Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith and Strathfield – were targeted with harsher restrictions compared to the rest of the NSW capital.
Given that the 12 LGAs had a high proportion of blue-collar workers and immigrants residing in them, they faced "stricter stay-at-home orders, a night-time curfew and more overt enforcement by government and police authorities."
Moreover, residents from the 12 Sydney LGAs were told by the NSW state government that they could only leave the areas they reside in for work if either their workplace has rapid antigen testing kits or they get the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of August 2021.
Sydney turned into mini police state
The report mentioned that the NSW state government also deployed around 300 members of the Australian Defense Force to back up the NSW Police Force (NSWPF) in ensuring compliance of stay-at-home orders.
Both police and military officers roamed the streets of Western Sydney – where the 12 LGAs were located – in July and August last year. They also knocked on residents' doors and inspected their homes to check for any breaches of lockdown protocols.
The report's authors also interviewed several UWU members residing in the 12 areas. The interviewees shared that they felt targeted by the government.
One resident from the Canterbury-Bankstownk LGA named Lydia recounted the intensified police presence during the delta variant's circulation. She told the report's authors: "It was stressful. So many people said, 'Police will be out, be careful.' There were police helicopters. They would fly out at night, checking to make sure that everybody was off the streets."
Separate reports also attested to the NSWPF's use of helicopters to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols. The Sun reported
that one Sydney resident strolling at a park near his home managed to capture footage of a blue and white helicopter admonishing people to go home. Police officers aboard the helicopter warned the man that local law enforcement would search for him and fine him for violating lockdown orders.
A separate report from the Daily Mail
zeroed in on the police's use of helicopters to disperse beachgoers
at Sydney's Gordons Bay beach. Footage uploaded to social media showed officers warning people to leave immediately. "Anyone breaching the public health order will be issued a fine," the officers aboard the helicopter warned.
A third report, this time from Metro
, stated that NSWPF used the same tactic to disperse beachgoers at the Coogee and Bondi beaches
who were simply soaking up the sun. "Nearly 1,000 people were spoken to, ensuring they were complying with the LGA's requirement," said an NSWPF spokesman.
has more stories about the draconian COVID-19 lockdowns in Sydney.
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