Australia on Monday reported 2,029 new Covid-19 infections, up from Sunday, even as its two most populous states remained under extended lockdowns and vaccination rates rose.
The state of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, reported 623 new cases and six deaths, down from 667 cases and 10 deaths on Sunday.
Victoria state reported 1,377 new Covid-19 infections, up from 1,220 on Sunday. There were also four new deaths.
Victoria’s case count was, however, down from a record high of 1,488 on Saturday, the highest for any state since the start of the pandemic last year.
State officials have blamed the recent spike in cases on Australian Rules football final parties, which breached lockdown rules the previous weekend. Nearly half of the new cases on Monday were people between the ages of 10 and 29.
The state’s capital Melbourne, in the midst of its sixth lockdown, on Sunday overtook Buenos Aires as the city under the longest lockdown at a cumulative total of 245 days since March last year.
New South Wales is due to start easing curbs from Oct 11, the first Monday after it expects 70% of its population over 16 to be fully vaccinated. As of Monday, about 67% had been fully vaccinated.
Victoria hopes to reach the 70% target, up from about 52% now, by Oct 26.
The Australian Capital Territory reported 28 new local infections and two deaths, while Queensland state reported one new local case on Monday.
In previous instances of any new local infection, Queensland has imposed snap lockdowns, however, Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young said she felt comfortable there probably has been no transmission as this person was double vaccinated and her household members had all tested negative.