Australia set a new record for COVID-19 cases on Sunday.
New South Wales (NSW), the most populous state in Australia and the epicenter of the country’s delta variant outbreak, reported 1,218 cases, according to Reuters.
The state is reportedly scheduled to slightly scale back its COVID-19 restrictions after nine weeks of lockdown, which is set to remain in place until the end of September.
NSW state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she will reopen the state once 70 percent of individuals 16 and older get vaccinated.
“No matter what the case numbers are doing… double-dose 70 percent in NSW means freedom for those who are vaccinated,” Berejiklian said, according to Reuters.
On Sunday, she said NSW is halfway to that goal.
Victoria, Australia’s second most populated state, reported 92 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, which is the highest daily count seen in almost a year, Reuters noted.
Victoria is currently in its sixth lockdown since the beginning of the pandemic.
Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said the state’s lockdown, which was slated to end on Thursday, will be extended for an unspecified amount of time
“We see far too many cases today for us to seriously consider opening up later on this week,” Andrews said, according to Reuters.
The Australian Capital Territory, which is where the capital city of Canberra is located, reported 13 new infections on Saturday, according to Reuters.
Australia has reported more than 51,000 COVID-29 cases and nearly 1,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to the country’s department of health.
The country’s six states and two territories implemented a number of mitigation strategies to curb the spread of the virus, including state border closures, lockdowns and strict social distancing precautions, Reuters noted.
Additionally, the national government shut down international borders at the beginning of the pandemic.
The national government, however, is now reportedly saying that the country’s COVID-zero strategy, which helped curb earlier outbreaks, is unrealistic with the spread of the delta variant and hurting the economy.
New COVID-19 record set in Australia | TheHill – The Hill