MELBOURNE, July 10 (Reuters) – Australia’s New South Wales state reported its biggest daily increase in locally acquired coronavirus infections this year on Saturday, with authorities warning that even worse could come for Sydney, which is in a three-week hiatus shutdown.
There were 50 new cases of transmission of society in the country’s most populous state, up from 44 a day earlier, the previously record high of 2021. This brings the outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant to 489 cases.
Of Saturday’s cases, 26 were people who had spent time in the community while being contagious, raising concerns that the lock-in of more than 5 million people in Sydney and the surrounding area will be extended.
“Knowing that there are 26 cases contagious in society, the only conclusion we can draw is that things are getting worse before they get better,” Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian told a televised briefing.
“I think it’s pretty clear that unless we reduce the level of people in society who are contagious, we will not be able to turn things around as fast as we can, or as fast as we should.”
There are 47 cases in the hospital, or about one in 10 people infected in the current outbreak. Of these, 19 people are under the age of 55 and 16 people are in intensive care, including a teenager.
No fully vaccinated people have required hospital treatment, and 79% of inpatients have not had doses, health officials said. Vaccinations are available in Australia for now only for people over 40 and those at risk either because of their health or work.
The country has fared much better than many other developed countries by keeping its COVID-19 numbers relatively low, but its vaccination rollout has been among the slowest due to supply constraints and shifting medical care to its base pill AstraZeneca.
Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Clip by Lincoln Feast and William Mallard
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