Infections in Australia rise past 25,000-mark

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SYDNEY: Australia surpassed 25,000 Covid-19 cases yesterday, tipped over the milestone by the recent outbreak in Victoria state and prompting a warning from the authorities about declining test numbers.

Australia recorded 151 new infections over 24 hours, up from 121 a day earlier, with Victoria responsible for the bulk of the cases and New South Wales accounting for the remainder.

The daily numbers were well down from a peak during Australia's second wave of more than 700 in a single day earlier this month, but officials expressed concern about a drop-off in the number of people presenting themselves for Covid-19 tests.

"We are seeing some decrease in the amount of testing... please, if you have symptoms, do go and get tested," national Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Alison McMillan said during a televised media conference in Canberra.

The new cases took Australia's tally since the pandemic began to 25,067 cases, including 525 deaths.


In neighbouring New Zealand, officials announced a testing blitz as they reported seven new Covid-19 cases over 24 hours.

Health Minister Chris Hopkins said 70,000 tests were planned over the next week.

"We haven't quite got this cluster completely identified yet, we do need people to take that test when asked," Mr Hopkins said in Wellington, referring to a group of cases in the city of Auckland that earlier this month ended the country's months-long run with no locally transmitted cases.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday extended a lockdown in Auckland until the end of the week and introduced mandatory mask wearing on public transport across the nation.

In South-east Asia, the Philippines yesterday reported 2,965 cases and 34 deaths. The total number of cases there has risen to 197,164, a fifth of which were reported in the past 10 days, while deaths have reached 3,038.

It has reported more than 1,000 new infections for 42 successive days and has the largest number of cases in South-east Asia.

Indonesia reported 2,447 cases yesterday taking its total to 157,859. There were also 99 deaths, taking the total to 6,858, the highest Covid-19 death toll in South-east Asia. - REUTERS