Asia Pacific

Australia's New South Wales reports 163 local COVID-19 cases

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People wearing protective face masks wait at a bus stop during a lockdown to curb the spread of a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Sydney, Australia, July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

MELBOURNE, July 24 (Reuters) - New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, on Saturday reported 163 locally acquired cases of COVID-19, its biggest daily rise, up from 136 a day earlier, in a worsening outbreak that has led to an urgent push to speed up vaccinations.

"Unfortunately the cases continue to rise in New South Wales," state health minister Brad Hazzard told reporters.

Of the new cases, at least 45 spent time in the community while infectious, state health authorities said. That figure is being closely watched as the state appears poised to extend a lockdown that was due to end on July 30.

Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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