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Australia reports record new COVID cases amid raging third wave

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The new cases took the overall infection tally to 56,212, while the death toll stood at 1,012, reports Xinhua news agency.

It came as Australia surpassed 20 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered in a major milestone for the rollout. Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that as of Thursday about 36.4 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over had been fully vaccinated.

“We’re not just on the way. We’re making real and significant progress,” Hunt said. Despite a new record number of cases, Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said it was time for Australia to “learn to live” with the virus after some premiers of states abandoned the Covid-zero strategy.“We’ve been saying that for a while now but this is the time we need to start to learn to live with this virus,” Kelly said. “Within a few weeks we’ll have almost all if not all states at that 70 per cent first dose of vaccination. So we need to start balancing those things.” Of the new cases reported on Thursday, 1,288 were from New South Wales (NSW), the epicentre of the current outbreak. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) reported 12 new cases on Thursday, only four of which were in quarantine for their entire infectious period. ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr admitted that Canberra was facing a “challenging” fight against the Delta variant but reiterated the goal of zero cases still achievable in the ACT. – THE STATESMAN

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