Australia reports record COVID-19 cases as police block Sydney protest


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Australian police patrolled the streets and blocked transport in central Sydney on Saturday to prevent a planned anti-lockdown protest as the country reported a record number of new COVID-19 infections. Authorities have reported a total of 886 cases in New South Wales and Victoria states, the vast majority in Sydney, which is the epicenter of the outbreak fueled by the Delta variant.

While other states and territories have yet to release daily figures, new infections have already surpassed the previous pandemic one-day high of 754 cases on Thursday. “We are in a very serious situation here in New South Wales,” State Health Minister Brad Hazzard said. “There is no time now to be selfish, it is time to think about the wider community and your families.”

Sydney, a city of over 5 million people, is under strict lockdown https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/sydney-covid-19-lockdown-be-extended-until-sept -end -2021-08-20 for weeks now, having so far failed to contain an epidemic that has spread across internal borders and into neighboring New Zealand. Authorities in New South Wales on Saturday reported three deaths and 516 people hospitalized. Of the 85 people in intensive care, 76 were not vaccinated, officials said.

At least 96 people were active in the community during their infectious period, and there have been a number of violations of public health orders, slowing all efforts to reduce the outbreak. More than 1,500 police were deployed on the streets of Sydney on Saturday, trains were ordered to bypass the city’s main stations and carpools were banned in the city center as police tried to prevent a unauthorized anti-lockout demonstration.

Australian media reported that a similar protest was planned in Melbourne, with Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews extending the citywide lockdown on Saturday as he reported 61 new locally acquired cases https: / /www.reuters.com/world/asia- pacific / australias-victoria-reports-61-local-covid-19-cases-2021-08-20. At least 39 of Victoria’s new cases were active in the community while infectious, raising concerns about the ability of authorities to take control of the outbreak. Eighteen people were hospitalized, eight in intensive care and six on ventilation.

Australia’s COVID-19 count is still relatively low compared to other developed countries, with just over 43,000 cases and 978 deaths, but the latest outbreak saw a significant resurgence of cases.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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