Canberra [Australia], September 6 (ANI/Xinhua): Australia has reported more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases for the 10th consecutive day as the country continued to battle the third wave of COVID-19 infections.
As of Sunday afternoon, there had been 61,609 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
On Monday morning, 1,538 new locally acquired COVID-19 infections were reported in Australia, taking the estimated number of active cases in the country to more than 26,000.
Of the new cases, 1,281 were from New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, where the state health department also recorded five deaths on Monday morning.
"There have been 131 COVID-19 related deaths in NSW since 16 June 2021," said the statement from NSW Health.
Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 246 new local cases.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) reported another 11 new cases, only three of which were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.
In response to the growing outbreak, the ACT government on Monday announced that the recommended interval between the first and second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been reduced to between four and eight weeks for Canberrans.
Chief Health Officer (CHO) Kerryn Coleman said the move, which brings the ACT in line with guidance from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, recognized the increased risk during the Delta outbreak in the nation's capital.
"Given the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant, it is now recommended that people have their second dose within the four to the eight-week range," she said in a media release.
"We know the vaccines are very effective at preventing illness and death. The Delta variant is easier to catch and most importantly is right here in our community."
The ACT government on Monday repeated calls for more Canberrans to come forward for coronavirus tests after just 2,488 were conducted in the ACT on Sunday.
"We want to see those over 3,000 a day so that we're detecting any transmission in the community early," Deputy CHO Vanessa Johnston said.
So far about 62 per cent of Australians aged 16 and over had received at least one vaccine dose and 38 per cent were fully vaccinated, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health. (ANI/Xinhua)