Australia`s new daily cases more than  1,000  new covid 19  on Thursday for the first time since the global pandemic began, as  hospitals in Sydney set up emergency outdoor tents to help deal with a rise in patients.

New South Wales state,  where Sydney is the capital, reported 1,029 new locally acquired cases, exceeding the previous record of 919 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 969 were detected in greater Sydney, up from 838.

 Sydney, the country`s largest city and the epicentre of the current outbreak, is struggling to stamp out a surge in the fast-spreading Delta variant, with daily infections hitting record levels even after two months under lockdown.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said authorities had quadrupled the number of the state`s intensive care ventilators to 2,000 early last year. Although the system is “under pressure”, it can withstand the current crisis once vaccination rates rise, she said.

The rapid rise in COVID-19 patients has forced Sydney`s Westmead and Blacktown hospitals, which service the city`s sprawling western suburbs, to erect tents to screen and swab patients to help manage capacity.

The fast-moving Delta spread  has taken the gloss off Australia`s early success against the virus that kept its coronavirus numbers relatively low, with some 47,700 cases and 989 deaths. About 32% of people above 16 have been fully vaccinated while just over 54% have had at least one dose.

116 people in ICU in NSW, 102 are not vaccinated. 3 new deaths were reported, including a man in his 30s who died at home, taking deaths from the latest outbreak to 79, although the death rate has slowed since last year.

Besides Sydney, the country`s second-largest city, Melbourne, and capital, Canberra, are also in hard lockdowns, putting more than half of the country`s 25 million population under strict stay home orders. Cases in Victoria, home to Melbourne, surged to 80 on Thursday, up from 45 a day earlier.

The federal government is pushing ahead with the country`s reopening plans once vaccination rates reach 70%-80%.

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