New South Wales has reported 1262 new local cases of Covid-19, yet another record of daily infections for the state and for Australia.
Seven Covid-related deaths were also reported by NSW Health, including a man in his 20s, a woman in her 40s, and two others in their 50s. The death toll in the outbreak is now 177.
There are currently 1,206 cases admitted to hospital in NSW, with 220 people in intensive care, 92 of whom require ventilation.
There were 27,114 vaccines administered yesterday by NSW Health. Of the eligible population in NSW, 45.6 per cent have now been fully vaccinated and 78 per cent have had their first dose.
On Saturday, social media users lamented the “unbelievable” scenes at Sydney’s beaches, where thousands flocked – despite record case numbers – to soak up the sun.
In a Facebook post, Woollahra Council confirmed Redleaf Beach and Camp Cove had “reached capacity by 11.30am, meaning access would be “restricted” for the rest of the day.
“Please choose another time or location to visit,” the post read. “The health of our community is important and our beaches and parks will be monitored over spring and summer to ensure they do not become overcrowded.”
Asked on Saturday whether he was worried about large crowds taking advantage of the warm weather and heading to the beach over the weekend, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said his greater concern was for unvaccinated people.
“I think that the fresh air, we know that it is the safest place to be at the present time,” he told reporters.
“But I would say to people who are out and about to maintain your social distance and to just be careful … Generally people have been really, really good. I know the media will have photos today of people out and about … but I think generally that’s a very safe place to be.”
Victoria recorded another 392 new local cases of Covid-19 on Sunday morning, as the state’s vaccination rate climbs higher.
Just 107 of the cases have so far been linked to existing outbreaks, suggesting contact tracers are struggling to keep up with the surge.
More than 36,000 vaccines were administered on Saturday, and 48,063 tests were carried out. As of Sunday morning, 65 per cent of eligible Victorians have had their first dose of vaccine and 45 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Sunday’s numbers come as epidemiologist Professor Catherine Bennett told The Age that Victoria’s high case numbers were accelerating faster than NSW’s due to “lockdown fatigue and slow vaccine uptake”.
“Victoria came in with a sledgehammer, but that still didn’t work,” Bennett said. “Every time my partner comes back from his hour of exercise or bike ride, he tells me he’s seen 40 people with no mask and 20 with a mask, so there’s this sense that even early in this lockdown it quickly looked a bit like the end of the last big lockdown.”
Bennett said the ACT locked down with one case and is still struggling to get its outbreak under control and New Zealand was at a crossroads.
“Unless you get that absolute buy-in [with compliance], luck on your side and a small-enough, tight-enough spread of community transmission that you can contain, then it’s all about vaccine because vaccine works everywhere,” she said.
Melbourne residents have been given no end date for their current lockdown, while locals in regional Victoria (excluding Shepparton) are enjoying their first free weekend after they were released from lockdown.
But, Ballarat residents are on high alert after Covid-19 fragments were found in wastewater.
Southeast Queensland has again avoided going into lockdown after no new cases were recorded overnight.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the infections were “contained to the family” after a 13-year-old student at tested positive on Friday morning. By Saturday, all five members in the family had tested positive.
The source of the infection is not yet known, but the St Thomas More College in Sunnybank, in Brisbane’s south, was closed on Friday with the student infectious at school for three days during the week.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles thanked Queenslanders for doing the right thing and said the region could “breathe a sigh of relief”.
“We’re not out of the woods yet,” he said. “But this is the best result we could have hoped for at this point of the outbreak.”
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