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Australia's Victoria state nears first COVID-19 vaccination goal

Australia's Victoria state nears first COVID-19 vaccination goal

9/15/2021 4:40:00 AM

Australia's Victoria state nears first COVID -19 vaccination goal

Australia's Victoria state reported a second consecutive daily fall in new COVID -19 cases on Wednesday as its first-dose vaccination rate neared the 70% level where some curbs imposed to contain an outbreak of the Delta variant will be eased.

With around 68% of the state's adults having received a first vaccine dose, it is likely to reach 70% this week as new supplies are rolled out, about a week ahead of schedule.Victoria reported 423 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, down from 445 on Tuesday, and two new deaths.

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Australia is struggling to quell a third wave of infections that has hit its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital Canberra, forcing nearly half the country's 25 million people into strict stay-at-home restrictions.Sydney, the epicenter of the Delta outbreak, recorded its lowest case numbers in nearly two weeks on Tuesday, although authorities said it was still unclear if infections had peaked.

read moreSydney and Melbourne have shifted their focus to rapid vaccinations to begin relaxing restrictions, moving away from an earlier COVID-zero strategy.A four-stage national reopening plan unveiled by the federal government in July urges states and territories to live with the virus once vaccinations cover 70%-80% of the adult population. Around 43% of adults have been fully vaccinated nationally.

Despite the recent Delta outbreaks, Australia's coronavirus numbers are relatively low, with some 77,000 cases and 1,104 deaths.Reporting by Renju Jose; editing by Jane WardellOur Standards:More from ReutersSign up for our newsletterSubscribe for our daily curated newsletter to receive the latest exclusive Reuters coverage delivered to your inbox.

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