Canberra: Australia on Wednesday reported a new record number of coronavirus cases for the third time in a week.
There were 973 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 reported across Australia on Wednesday, taking the total number of confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic to above 46,700, reports Xinhua news agency.
However, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded only nine new cases, its lowest in four days, after a record 30 on Tuesday.
It takes the total number of cases linked to an outbreak in the nation’s capital to 176.
Despite the downturn in new cases, Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced that the ACT’s lockdown, which began on August 12, would not end earlier than September 2.
“What we’ve seen in our own outbreak, and what’s playing out around Australia and around the world is just how quickly one positive case turns into hundreds then thousands in a community,” he told reporters.
“Today’s case update together with the data that we have from the last 13 days, regrettably means that we are not in a position to end lockdown early.
“Now is not the time to be significantly easing restrictions, however some changes are being considered. And these changes will seek to balance risk across the community.”
ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Vanessa Johnston said more than 10,000 Canberra residents remained in quarantine as close contacts of cases.
“Out of the nine, three were in quarantine for their full infectious period, therefore posing no risk to the community,” she said.
The ACT Government on Wednesday announced that student nurses and midwives would join the territory’s coronavirus vaccination and testing workforce.
“We have been working closely with the ACT health care sector, unions, professional peak bodies and universities to bring student health practitioners on board to assist in the ACT’s Covid-19 pandemic response,” Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said.
“Our Covid-19 response workforce is doing an amazing job responding to the current outbreak and this will allow us to be able to provide further support for the important work they are doing to help keep our community safe.”