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NSW eases restrictions despite biggest jump in Covid-19 cases

SYDNEY: Australia's most populous state said yesterday it will ease restrictions despite reporting the biggest one-day jump in new Covid-19 cases in six weeks.

New South Wales (NSW) said that from Friday, venues that offer outdoor dining will be allowed to have double the number of patrons outside.

NSW previously required such venues to ensure 4 sq m for each patron.

"We know, particularly in our state during this pandemic, some of the hardest hit industries have been arts and recreation and hospitality," NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told reporters in Sydney.

The easing of restrictions comes despite NSW reporting 13 cases in the past 24 hours, the biggest one-day rise in infections since Sept 2.

Australia has now reported just over 27,000 infections and 899 deaths.

The bulk of Australia's infections have been in Victoria state, which is entering its third month of a stringent lockdown.

Victorian authorities have said most of the restrictions will be eased when the average number of daily infections over a two-week period falls below five.

The average stood at 10 yesterday, threatening to prolong the lockdown.

Meanwhile, Indonesia reported 3,906 new infections yesterday and 92 deaths, data showed. The new infections brought the total number to 340,622, while the death tally rose to 12,027.

The Philippines' Health Departmentyesterday reported 1,990 infections, the lowest in three weeks, and 40 deaths. Total confirmed cases have risen to 344,713, the highest number in South-east Asia, while deaths have reached 6,372.

Malaysia reported 660 cases yesterday. The new infections raise the total to 16,880 cases, according to the Health Ministry. There were four deaths, taking total fatalities to 163. - REUTERS

WORLD