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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia reported its first coronavirus-related death of the year on Sunday and a 2021 record 77 new cases of the virus in the state of New South Wales, which is battling an outbreak of the highly infections Delta variant.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the numbers in and around the country’s biggest city Sydney, which is in a three-week lockdown, are expected to rise further in coming days.

“I’m anticipating the numbers in New South Wales will be greater than 100 tomorrow,” Berejiklian told a televised briefing. “I will be shocked if it is less.”

On Saturday there were 50 cases, the previous 2021 record high. This takes the recent outbreak to 566 cases.

Of Sunday’s cases, 33 were people who had spent time in the community while they were infectious, deepening concerns that the lockdown of more than 5 million people in Sydney and surroundings will be extended.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by William Mallard)



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