Coronavirus: Australia cases top 1,000 for first time in pandemic.

Australia’s new daily cases of Covid-19 topped 1,000 on Thursday for the first time since the global pandemic began, as two major hospitals in Sydney set up emergency outdoor tents to help deal with a rise in patients.

Sydney, the country’s largest city and the epicentre of the current outbreak, is struggling to stamp out a surge in the fast-spreading Delta variant, with daily infections hitting record levels even after two months under lockdown.

New South Wales (NSW) state, where Sydney is the capital, reported 1,029 new locally acquired cases, exceeding the previous record of 919 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 969 were detected in greater Sydney, up from 838.

The rapid rise in Covid-19 patients has forced Sydney’s Westmead and Blacktown hospitals, which service the city’s sprawling western suburbs, to erect tents to screen and swab patients to help manage capacity.

The makeshift unit in the emergency department for Covid-19 patients will help “to offload delays”, a Western Sydney Local Health District spokesperson told Reuters.

State premier Gladys Berejiklian said authorities had quadrupled the number of the state’s intensive care ventilators to 2,000 early last year. Although the system is “under pressure”, it can withstand the current crisis once vaccination rates rise, she said.

“It might be different to the help you got before because of the situation, but please know the system is kicking in,” Ms Berejiklian said at a televised media conference.

Of 116 people in intensive care in New South Wales, 102 are not vaccinated. Three new deaths were reported, including a man in his 30s who died at home, taking deaths from the latest outbreak to 79, although the death rate has slowed since last year.

In a video posted on Twitter Wednesday night, the Australian Paramedic Association said paramedics were given a choice to wait in their vehicles with infected people or “wait outside in the freezing rain” due to the rise in patients.

The fast-moving Delta strain has taken the gloss off Australia’s early success against the virus that kept its coronavirus numbers relatively low, with some 47,700 cases and 989 deaths. About 32 per cent of people above 16 have been fully vaccinated while just over 54 per cent have had at least one dose.

Besides Sydney, the country’s second-largest city, Melbourne, and capital, Canberra, are also in hard lockdowns, putting more than half of the country’s 25 million population under strict stay-at-home orders.

Cases in Victoria, home to Melbourne, surged to 80 on Thursday, up from 45 a day earlier.

The federal government is pushing ahead with the country’s reopening plans once vaccination rates reach 70 per cent to 80 per cent, but some states have hinted they may delay given the rapid growth of cases in Sydney.

Ms Berejiklian said New South Wales may reach 70 per cent fully vaccinated by mid-October, and airline Qantas said it was preparing for international travel to resume in December.

Also on Thursday, grocer Woolworths Group reported a surge in annual profit as lockdowns sparked demand for household essentials. – Reuters

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Power Player of the Week: Jay Glazer

Power Player of the Week: Jay Glazer

Fox Sports analyst and NFL insider Jay Glazer is the Power Player of the Week on ‘Fox News Sunday.' #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news s...

Kabul Women Demand Rights As Mayor Tells Them To Stay Home.

Kabul Women Demand Rights As Mayor Tells Them To Stay Home.

“Women are scared that 20 years of people's, especially women's achievements and progress will be destroyed,” said women rights activist Marzia Ahmadi.» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative ...

Meet The Press Broadcast (Full) - September 19th, 2021.

Meet The Press Broadcast (Full) - September 19th, 2021.

Dr. Anthony Fauci breaks down the state of the booster shot debate. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) discusses whether the GOP’s tent is big enough for Trump dissenters. Anna Palmer, Jeff Mason, Rich Lowry and María Teresa Kumar join the Meet the Press r...

Texas AG slams Biden on border crisis, saying 'he created this' and 'gave that incentive'.

Texas AG slams Biden on border crisis, saying 'he created this' and 'gave that incentive'.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton slammed Biden on the border crisis, saying his policy has enabled the ongoing crisis. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all...

Rep. Kevin Brady: Texas has never seen so many migrants

Rep. Kevin Brady: Texas has never seen so many migrants

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, reacts to more than 14,000 illegal immigrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas this week. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-...

FDA panel recommends some Americans get COVID booster shot.

FDA panel recommends some Americans get COVID booster shot.

An independent FDA panel recommended this week that some Americans, including those over the age of 65 and those who are at risk of serious disease, get the COVID-19 booster shot. But the panel stopped short of recommending it for the general publ...