CANBERRA – Australia has reported another record number of 1,477 new cases on Thursday morning as the country continued to battle the third wave of COVID-19 infections.
The new cases took the estimated number of active cases in total to more than 21,000. 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 percent 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 in Canberra.
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 percent 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), Australia’s most populous state with Sydney as the capital city.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) reported 12 new cases on Thursday, only four of which were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.