Australia’s new COVID-19 cases hit record high

A security guard patrols around the Opera House on Oct 11, 2021, as Sydney ended their lockdown against the COVID-19 coronavirus after 106 days.

MELBOURNE / WELLINGTON / NEW DELHI / TOKYO – Australia reported record high new COVID-19 cases on Saturday for a third day, with outbreaks growing in the two most populous states, however, Prime Minister Scott Morrison continued to downplay the risks as the country eases pandemic curbs.

New South Wales state reported 2,482 new cases, Victoria state reported 1,504 new cases and Queensland state reported 31 new cases on Saturday, together topping Austalia's previous high of 3,820 cases a day earlier.

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Morrison reiterated on Saturday the focus should be on hospitalisations and cases in intensive care and on ventilators rather than actual case numbers as the country learns to live with the virus.

So far, he said the rising case numbers in New South Wales were not translating into pressure on hospitals, with only 26 people in intensive care.

In the latest easing of pandemic curbs, fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in Sydney and Melbourne will no longer need to isolate for 72 hours, the governments of New South Wales and Victoria said on Friday.

Incoming travelers will still need to get a PCR test within 24 hours of arriving, but only need to isolate until they receive a negative test result.

Australia slammed its borders shut soon after the pandemic hit in 2020, which kept COVID-19 cases down relative to other rich nations. The country has so far recorded about 239,000 cases and about 2,130 deaths.


India's COVID-19 tally rose to 34,733,194 on Saturday, as 7,145 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data.

Besides, 289 deaths due to the pandemic reported since Friday morning took the total death toll to 477,158.

India's federal government on Friday said with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 "spreading rapidly", there was a need to avoid unnecessary travel and mass gathering.

The health ministry has stressed the need to follow COVID-19 protocols, including using face masks, maintaining social distance and getting vaccination.


Japan will extend a curb on foreigners entering the country beyond year-end to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Saturday citing anonymous government sources.

Japan reversed an easing of controls late last month as Omicron spread around the world and has one of the world's strictest border policies.

Although COVID-19 cases have fallen dramatically since a deadly wave in August, there is growing concern about the Omicron variant, which has been found more than 30 times in Japan, mostly during airport screening and quarantine.

New Zealand

New Zealand has identified four more COVID-19 cases of Omicron variant among recent international arrivals, taking the total in the country to eight, said New Zealand's Ministry of Health in a statement on Saturday.

All infected are isolated in the border quarantine facilities, said the statement, adding that New Zealand has reported 49 new cases of COVID-19.

Of the 49 new cases, 39 were community cases across New Zealand, and 10 were imported cases, said the ministry.

Among the new community infections, 25 were recorded in the largest city of Auckland, 11 in Bay of Plenty, two in the Lakes region, and one in Taranaki, the ministry said.

The total case number of COVID-19 in the current Delta variant outbreak in the community has reached 10,168, mainly in Auckland and peripheral regions, it added.

New Zealand recorded 12,996 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, said the ministry, noting that 90 percent of the eligible population have fully vaccinated against COVID-19.