Australia records first Covid death in 2021, highest daily cases | Corona virus pandemic news
The death comes as the state of New South Wales has recorded a record number of new infections, and authorities have warned of more cases.
Australia reported its first coronavirus-related death this year as authorities in the state of New South Wales struggle to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious delta type.
Officials said Sunday that the woman in her 90s died hours after she tested positive for COVID-19.
It is the first death from a locally acquired infection in Australia this year, and came as New South Wales recorded a record 77 new cases of the virus.
State Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters that numbers in and around Sydney, the country’s largest city, which is already under heavy lockdown, were expected to rise.
“I would be shocked if it was less than 100 this time tomorrow, of additional new cases,” she said.
On Saturday, there were 50 cases – the previous record for 2021. The number of recent outbreaks was 566.
Among Sunday’s cases, 33 were people who spent time in the community while infected, raising the prospect of a three-week lockdown extension for more than five million people in Sydney and surrounding areas.
“Given where we are, and given that the lockdown was supposed to be lifted on Friday, everyone can tell it’s very unlikely at this point,” Berejiklian said.
There are 52 hospitalized cases, or about 1 in 10 people infected in the current outbreak. Fifteen people are in intensive care, and five of them need ventilation.
Australia has fared far better than many other developed countries in keeping COVID-19 numbers relatively low, having seen more than 31,000 cases since the start of the pandemic and 911 deaths.
However, vaccine rollout has been slow due to supply constraints and changing medical advice regarding AstraZeneca’s stenting.
Vaccines are now only available to people over the age of 40 and groups at risk either because of their health or exposure to the virus at work.
Health authorities said 11 of those admitted to hospital in Sydney, under 35 and more than three-quarters of patients received no doses.