Australia’s Covid cases, deaths continue to rise

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Australia reported more than 40,000 new Covid cases and more than 30 deaths on Friday, including 16 in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state.

According to the latest Department of Health data, a total of 5,073,311 Covid cases have been reported in Australia, including 6,693 deaths, and approximately 435,702 active cases as of Thursday afternoon.

There were 3,138 coronavirus cases being treated in Australian hospitals including 126 in intensive care units, Xinhua news agency reported.

Over the past week, there have been an average of 49,474 new cases reported each day. The median age of all cases is 30 years and the median age of deaths is 83.

So far, about 69 per cent of the eligible population had received booster vaccines in the country.

On Friday, one state’s strict coronavirus face mask mandate has been lifted after about nine months. People in South Australia (SA) are no longer required to wear masks in most public indoor spaces.

Masks are still required in high-risk settings such as hospitals, aged care facilities and public transport.

Peter Malinauskas, who wwas elected South Australian premier in March, said the new rules would give people more choice.

“Of course, if South Australians want to continue to wear masks, they really have that choice,” he said.

Some local businesses hoped customers could still wear masks despite the mandate being dropped.

“I personally would prefer (wearing masks) for everyone’s safety,” Fernando Gutierrez, a restaurant owner, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “I know that a lot of them might get upset if I try to enforce something that by law is (optional). I can’t do anything.”

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