Australia reported its first death in 2021 from locally acquired coronavirus, while Covid-19 cases have grown in China and continue to rise in South Korea.
The Australian state of New South Wales is battling an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant, setting a 2021 record of 77 new cases of the virus on Sunday.
A woman in her 90s died on Saturday in Sydney after testing positive for Covid-19. State Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the number of cases in and around Australia’s largest city, which is on a three-week lockdown, was expected to rise further in the coming days.
“I anticipate that the numbers in New South Wales will be over 100 tomorrow,” Berejiklian said. “I would be surprised if it is less.”
There were 50 cases on Saturday, which was a record for 2021. This brings the recent outbreak to 566 cases.
South Korea reported 1,324 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Saturday, the Korea Disease Prevention and Control Agency (KDCA) said, down from a record 1,378 the day before. Reported cases often decline over the weekends with fewer tests performed, and authorities have warned that cases may continue to rise.
The increase has led to far fewer serious infections than previous waves, with many of South Korea’s oldest and most vulnerable residents vaccinated against the virus. Overall, about 11% of South Korea’s 52 million people have completed vaccination, while 30% have received a dose. The increase is being driven largely by younger unvaccinated people, according to the KDCA.
The increase has prompted officials to demand the strictest level of social distancing in Seoul and neighboring regions for the first time, starting Monday. South Korea’s total Covid-19 infections to date stands at 168,046, with 2,043 deaths.
China reported 24 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, compared with 26 the day before, the country’s national health authority said. Twelve of the new confirmed cases were locally transmitted infections in the southwestern Yunnan province. The rest was imported.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 17 from 16 a day earlier. Of the asymptomatic cases, one was a local transmission recorded in Shaanxi province.
The total confirmed cases of Covid-19 in China stood at 92,039, while the death toll stood at 4,636.
In Europe, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 745 to 3,736,165, data from the Robert Koch Institute for Infectious Diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll increased by six to 91,231.
Meanwhile, in Taiwan, chipmaker TSMC said Sunday that it was in the midst of signing the contract to buy injections of the Covid-19 vaccine from Germany’s BioNTech, Pfizer’s vaccine partner. “There are multiple parties. We are in the middle of the contract signing process. We will make announcements once the process is complete, ”TSMC said.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism