Australia sees record Covid cases

Australia sees record Covid cases

Australia sees record Covid cases with the outbreak set to continue getting WORSE until next week at least despite lockdown measures

  • Australia’s daily cases topped 1,900 for the first time in the pandemic on Friday 
  • The spiralling outbreak is being fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant
  • Both Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s largest cities, are currently in lockdown
  • Officials have ditched their zero-Covid strategy in favour of virus suppression

Australia again reported record Covid cases today with the outbreak set to continue getting worse until at least next week, despite strict local lockdown measures.

The country’s daily cases topped 1,900 for the first time in the pandemic on Friday as the outbreak – fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant – continued to gain ground in locked-down Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities.

Australia is in the grip of a third wave of infections with the Delta outbreak forcing officials to ditch their COVID-zero strategy in favour of suppressing the virus.

They now aim to begin easing tough restrictions after reaching a higher proportion of the population with double-dose vaccinations.

Pictured: People wearing face masks walk in front of the Opera House in Sydney on September 10, 2021, as Australia recorded a new record number of daily coronavirus cases

New South Wales (NSW), the epicentre of the country’s worst outbreak, reported 1,542 new daily local cases, topping the previous high of 1,533 hit last week. Nine new deaths were registered.

‘So far this trajectory is what has been predicted,’ NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a media briefing in Sydney, the state capital, where cases are expected to hit a peak in the next week.

Berejiklian said the daily COVID-19 media briefing would be scrapped from Monday and updates would be detailed in an online video, an approach previously used when case numbers were low.

Rising cases in Sydney have increased the load for ambulance staff, with the number of COVID-19 patients transported doubling in the last two weeks to total almost 6,000, officials said. 

Some 1,156 people are hospitalised in the state, with 207 in intensive care, 89 of whom require ventilation.

Members of the public at a Covid-19 vaccine pop-up vaccination clinic at Ashfield in Sydney, Friday, September 10, 2021. NSW authorities on Thursday said Sydney’s businesses could reopen once 70 percent of the state’s adult population is fully vaccinated

Pictured: A graph showing Australian’s new coronavirus cases per day

Despite cases lingering near record levels, NSW authorities on Thursday said Sydney’s businesses could reopen once 70 percent of the state’s adult population is fully vaccinated, a target due to be reached around the middle of October. 

So far, 76 percent of people above 16 in the state have had received at least one dose, while 44 percent have been fully vaccinated.

Victoria state logged 334 new cases, its biggest rise for this year, and one death. Some restrictions in the capital Melbourne will be eased when 70 percent of the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose, expected around Sept. 23.

A four-stage national reopening plan unveiled by the federal government in July aims to relax several tough curbs once the country reaches a 70-80 percent immunisation target from 40 percent now. 

However, some virus-free states have flagged they may delay easing curbs on inter-state travel and other restrictions.

Australia’s total infection numbers stand at around 70,000 cases, including 1,076 deaths. Higher vaccinations have kept the death rate at 0.41 percent in the Delta outbreak, data shows, below previous outbreaks.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian arrives to speak to the media during a press conference in Sydney, Friday, September 10, 2021. Berejiklian. said the daily COVID-19 media briefing would be scrapped from Monday

Sydney’s cafes, restaurants and pubs are set to reopen in the second half of October after months of strict lockdown, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s warning that higher case numbers will follow the easing of curbs.

Leaders must ‘hold their nerve’, he said.

Authorities said Sydney bars and eateries, as well as gyms, across the city of five million people would be able to reopen at reduced capacity within days once New South Wales (NSW) reached a 70 percent double-vaccination target.

Stay-at-home orders for the fully vaccinated will be lifted on the Monday after the target is achieved, the officials said. 

‘Living with COVID means you have a cautious and staged reopening once you get to those high rates of vaccination in your adult population,’ Berejiklian said during a media briefing in Sydney. 

Under the plan, pubs and cafes in Sydney could reopen before schools, which will begin classes for younger aged-groups from Octtober 25.

‘(School reopening) date is fixed because we need to provide certainty and planning for school communities … but for adults, we have the capacity to be more flexible,’ she said.

Fans lineup to enter the stadium ahead of the Rugby Championship game between the All Blacks and the Wallabies in Perth, Australia, Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021. While the cities of Sydney and Melbourne in the east have been in strict lockdown, the Western Australia state capital Perth has largely remained open for business behind its closed border

Berejiklian had initially pursued a COVID-zero strategy to quell an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant that began in mid-June, but has since shifted to focusing on increasing inoculation rates.

About 43 percent of the population above 16 in the state, Australia’s most populous, have been fully vaccinated, slightly higher than the national average of 40 percent. 

Sydney’s staggered reopening plans bring some certainty for businesses, with lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia’s largest cities, threatening to push the A$2 trillion ($1.47 trillion) economy into its second recession in as many years.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday the reopening efforts of New South Wales align with the four-stage national plan unveiled in July that promised more freedoms once the country reaches 70-80 percent inoculation.

‘The next stage will be hard … we’ll see case numbers rise and that will be challenging,’ Morrison said in Canberra. ‘But if you want to live with the virus you inevitably have to pass down that tunnel.’

Morrison urged state leaders to ‘hold their nerve’ when they begin to live with the virus, although some virus-free states have hinted they may delay their reopening even after reaching higher vaccination coverage. 

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