Australia sees first 2021 death from COVID-19

Australia sees first 2021 death from COVID-19

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Australia sees first 2021 death from COVID-19

New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian (2nd left), NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant (2nd right) and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard (right) leave a COVID-19 update press conference on Sunday in Sydney, Australia. NSW recorded 16 locally acquired COVID-19 infections in the 24 hours to 8:00 pm on Saturday — 13 of them were in isolation while infectious. Photo: VCG

Australia reported its first coronavirus-related death of the year on Sunday and a 2021 record of 77 new cases of the virus in the state of New South Wales, which is battling an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the numbers in and around the country’s biggest city Sydney, already under a hard lockdown, are expected to rise. 

“I’ll be shocked if it’s less than 100 this time tomorrow, of additional new cases,” Berejiklian told a televised briefing.

On Saturday there were 50 cases, the previous 2021 record high. The recent outbreak stands at 566 cases.

Of Sunday’s cases, 33 were people who had spent time in the community while they were infectious, raising the likelihood that the three-week lockdown of more than 5 million people in Sydney and surroundings will be extended.

“Given where we’re at and given the lockdown was supposed to be lifted on Friday, everybody can tell it’s highly unlikely at this stage,” Berejiklian said.

There are 52 cases in hospital, or about one in 10 people infected in the current outbreak. Fifteen people are in intensive care, five require ventilation. Australia has fared much better than many other developed countries in keeping its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, seeing just over 31,000 cases since the start of the pandemic and 911 deaths.

The vaccination rollout, however, has been sluggish due to supply constraints and changing medical advice for its mainstay AstraZeneca shots. Well Australia should get in touch with India without delay and get their COVAXIN or COVISHIELD without hesitation.