Tue, 19 Oct 2021

CANBERRA, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Australia's COVID-19 vaccine rollout has set a record week as the country continues to battle the third wave of the pandemic.

Greg Hunt, minister for health, announced on Monday that 1.936 million Australians were vaccinated in the seven days to Sunday, taking the total number of doses administered in Australia beyond 24 million.

Approximately 72 percent of Australians aged 16 and older have now had at least one vaccine dose and 47 percent are fully inoculated.

"A record week of vaccinations, but increased vaccine supply this week and next week, and going through October, which means that every Australian has the opportunity to be vaccinated," Hunt told reporters.

On Monday morning, Australia reported 1,509 new locally-acquired cases of COVID-19, the country's lowest daily tally since Sept. 7.

New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, reported 935 new cases and four deaths.

"There have been 245 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since 16 June 2021," said the statement from the NSW Health.

Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 567 new local cases.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded seven new cases, its fewest in recent days, all of which have been linked to previous cases.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr welcomed the positive news but said it was too early to tell if there was a downward trend in case numbers, warning that Canberra's health system could be overwhelmed if its strict lockdown was ended early.

"Extreme pressure is coming to New South Wales and Victoria's health systems and it would be naive to think that the ACT system won't also come under pressure," he said.

"Our priority over the coming six weeks is to look to get as many people safely back to work as soon as we can."

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