Australia surpasses 70,000 COVID-19 cases amid battle against 3rd wave

CANBERRA: SEPT. 11 – Australia has reported more than 2,000 coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time as the country continues to battle the third wave of infections.

On Saturday morning, there were 2,069 locally acquired cases of COVID-19 reported across the country, taking the total number of confirmed infections since the start of the pandemic beyond 70,000.

Of the new cases, 1,599 were from New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, where the state health department also recorded eight deaths.

“There have been 170 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since June 16, 2021,” said the statement from NSW Health.

Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 450 new local cases.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) reported 15 new cases on Saturday — the 30th day of a lockdown that is due to end on Sept. 17, taking the number of active cases in the nation’s capital to 249.

As of Friday, about 66 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over had received at least one vaccine dose and 41 per cent were fully inoculated, according to the Department of Health.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently reiterated that it was time for Australia to “live with the virus”, calling for fellow state premiers and territory chief ministers to “hold your nerve” and ease restrictions when vaccination targets are met.

Leaders in July signed off on Morrison’s plan to ease coronavirus restrictions when 70 per cent to 80 per cent of adults are fully vaccinated.

On Saturday, the federal government announced five million Australian dollars in funding to find a new COVID-19 antibody treatment that could stop the disease from progressing.

Australia has already approved the use of two COVID-19 treatments, Remdesivir and Sotrovimab, which are currently being used to treat patients with COVID-19 across the country, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt. (1 Australian Dollar equals 0.74 U.S. Dollar)

-Xinhua