New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, recorded on Monday 112 new coronavirus infections, the highest single-day tally this year.

Of these locally acquired cases, 64 are linked to a known case or cluster, 41 are household contacts and 23 are close contacts, according to the state’s Health Ministry. The source of infection for 48 cases remains under investigation.

The regional government said most of the infections were reported in three local government areas.

“People in Greater Sydney must stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave. You should only be shopping for essential items and only leaving the house for as short a period of time as possible,” the NSW Health said in a statement.

Gladys Berejiklian, the NSW premier, said many of the latest infections were passed between family members and close friends who met despite a ban on meeting anyone outside your household.

“I want to stress again, as we did yesterday, if you put yourself at risk, you’re putting your entire family, and that means extended family, as well as your closest friends and associates, at risk,” she told reporters.

Berejiklian also announced pharmacies across the state will now be able to administer the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to anybody over the age of 40. The health advice in Australia, however, recommends the British-Swedish jab be given to residents aged 60 and over.

The NSW has 6,170 cases, and 57 related deaths, while the number of vaccines administered has crossed 2.7 million.

In total, Australia has reported 31,221 cases and 911 virus-linked deaths. About 9% of the population is fully vaccinated.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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