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COVID-19 cluster in Australia's most populous state threatens to slow easing

COVID-19 cluster in Australia's most populous state threatens to slow easing

A sign informing people of how to stop the spread of COVID-19 is displayed at Bondi beach in Sydney on Oct 5, 2020. (Photo: AFP/David Gray)

SYDNEY: Australia's most populous state reported its biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 infections in more than a month on Thursday (Oct 8) as a growing cluster threatens to slow the easing of restrictions.

New South Wales (NSW) said it has detected 12 infections over the previous 24 hours, the biggest one-day jump since Sep 2, when 17 infections were reported.

READ: Australia expects COVID-19 vaccination is still a year away

The new cases threaten to delay the reopening of the border between NSW and Queensland state, a restriction the federal government wants removed immediately to help revive the country's ailing economy.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said last week the border would be opened with NSW on Nov 1, but only if that state went 28 days without any cases that authorities could not trace the source of.

Four of the new infections in New South Wales were found in people in quarantine after returning from abroad and all but one of the new locally acquired infections have been traced.

READ: Australia's Victoria state reaches lower COVID-19 infection milestone

Palaszczuk said NSW would have to trace all of its infections to avoid a delay of the scheduled border reopening.

Victoria state - the epicentre of Australia's second wave of COVID-19 infections - reported 11 new cases in the past 24 hours, a small increase on the six reported on Wednesday.

Australia has reported more than 27,000 coronavirus infections and about 900 deaths - far fewer than many other developed countries.

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Source: Reuters/ad

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