Police officers detain a protester in Sydney on Saturday. AFP
Australian police clashed with hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday, while smaller groups of protesters were prevented from congregating in Sydney by a large contingent of riot police.
Officials reported a total of 886 infections, the highest ever single-day rise in Covid-19 cases, in New South Wales and Victoria states, with the vast bulk in Sydney.
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Mounted police used pepper spray in Melbourne to break up crowds surging toward police lines.
Meanwhile, another report said the police arrested hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne and Sydney on Saturday and seven officers were hospitalised as a result of clashes.
A policeman pepper sprays a protester during an anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne on Saturday. AFP
A city of over 5 million people, Sydney has been in a strict lockdown for more than two months now, failing so far to contain an outbreak that has spread across internal borders.
More than 1,500 police officers were deployed on Sydney's streets on Saturday, trains were ordered to bypass major city stations and rideshares were banned to the city centre as police tried to prevent an unauthorised anti-lockdown protest.
There was no information immediately available on arrests. Police in Victoria had vowed to hand out fines of $3,600 to any protester they could identify taking part.
The State Health Minister Brad Hazzard said, “We are in a very serious situation here in New South Wales. There is no time now to be selfish, it’s time to think of the broader community and your families.”
With other states and territories still to report daily numbers, new infections have already exceeded the previous single-day high for the pandemic of 754 cases on Thursday.
New South Wales police prepare an inspection lane on the M1 motorway heading towards downtown Sydney. AFP
New South Wales officials reported three deaths and 516 people in hospital on Saturday. Of the 85 people in intensive care, 76 were unvaccinated, officials said.At least 96 people were active in community during their infectious period, and there were a number of breaches of public health orders, all slowing the efforts to curtail the outbreak.
About half the country's roughly 110 million people are currently under quarantine — including millions in deep poverty, left jobless by tough restrictions on movement.
An Australian family residing in Dubai expressed its thanks and gratitude to the UAE for helping to reunite them in Dubai with their son, who was stuck in the Australian city of Sydney for nearly two months.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country was now considering limiting the number of citizens returning from abroad, after Victoria began diverting international flights to other cities.
The UAE government affirmed that the UAE citizens have priority in being appointed to any of the vacant jobs in the federal authorities, adding that non-nationals can be appointed in case the citizen does not meet the conditions and requirements of the job.
The Iranian Jamaran news website identified the boy as 9-year-old Morteza Delf Zaregani. They spoke to the father who accused the police of not issuing any warning before shooting.
The UAE Government stated that a resident can obtain a residence visa for his wife and children, after submitting the marriage contract which must be certified in Arabic or translated into Arabic by a sworn and certified translator.