Another 12 Australians have died with COVID-19 as the federal government puts pressure on the states to open up home quarantine to get more people home.
Eleven of the deaths were in NSW, which on Saturday reported 1007 new locally acquired cases.
Three of those deaths, including a man in his 40s, occurred at home to people who were not diagnosed with the virus until after they died.
Nine of the 11 NSW deaths involved people who had not received a single vaccine dose.
In Victoria, authorities reported 847 new local infections – the highest daily tally since the start of the pandemic. There was also one death, a man in his 80s.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said 79 per cent of the state’s new cases were in people aged 50 or under.
“This is still largely an outbreak of people under 50, the young and the unvaccinated,” he told reporters.
There were also 32 new local cases reported in the ACT on Saturday, including at least 24 who who had spent some time in the community while infectious.
Only six of the cases have so far been linked to other known infections, leaving the national capital on high alert.
Queensland had one new locally acquired case, linked to Brisbane’s Sunnybank cluster, but the child has been in home quarantine and presents no risk to the broader community.
Half of the nation’s population aged over 16 is now fully vaccinated.
As police in Victoria prepare for more protests on Saturday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has pleaded with people not to gather to watch the AFL grand final, which is being played in Perth.
“Everyone in the state deserves to enjoy the day, and I hope they will, but there is a curfew in place in much of Victoria,” he said.
“It’s those close contacts that put you, your friends, and your household at risk.”
Meanwhile, Tourism and Trade Minister Dan Tehan has urged the states to rethink their position on home-based quarantine as Christmas nears.
Asked on Saturday if Australia needs to adopt a national position on home quarantine arrangements, he said: “It would be wonderful if every state and territory began to trial it like they are in South Australia.
“The early indications there are that it is working and working well.
“The more states and territories that we can get on board … the better, because in the end that’s going to be the best way we can – in particular for all those Australians who want to return for Christmas – bring them home.”