Australia urges boosting Covid-19 jab rate amid record infection rise

Sydney, Australia, Aug 25 (EFE).- Authorities in Australia’s province of New South Wales, the most affected by the pandemic in the country, urged citizens Wednesday to be vaccinated after recording 919 new Covid-19 infections in the region.

Due to the limited effectiveness of the restrictions against the virus’ delta variant, the province’s Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the priority is to vaccinate the largest number of people, mainly the young.

“The most important index, the most important number for us is how many people are protected (by the vaccine) and have that armor because we know that it keeps them out of the hospital,” Berejiklian said at the daily press conference on the pandemic.

After closing its borders and applying early confinements, Australia had kept the virus at bay, but the delta variant, first detected in India, is proving harder to control and has shot the accumulated infections in the country to more than 45,000, including 984 deaths.

The vaccination plan also suffered delays, although in recent weeks the pace has increased and more than 10.8 million Australians (52.8 percent of the total) have already received a dose and 6.2 million (30.3 percent) have received the full course.

New South Wales is the most affected state in the country in number of infections and hospital admissions, adding 500 of the 550 hospital admissions for Covid-19 and 107 of the 117 admitted in the ICU throughout the country.

The state’s Health Minister Brad Hazzard said some hospitals and workers are under great pressure due to the increase in infections, but added that the health system is robust in general.

“The hospital system is responding well, although some hospitals are experiencing great pressure from time to time,” he said.

On Friday, authorities announced an extension of the confinement in Sydney, the capital of New South Wales, for another month due to the pandemic, which adds to the weeks they have been under lockdown since Jun. 26.

The central government hopes to vaccinate 70 percent and 80 percent of its population to relax restrictions and confinements and open its international borders, which it closed in March 2020. EFE


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