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Virus cases balloon, concern for Victoria

In another day of record COVID-19 cases in Australia, authorities continued to press the case for getting vaccinated as soon as feasibly possible.

NSW recorded another day above 1000 cases, while Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews flagged an extension of the state's lockdown beyond this week after approaching nearly 100 cases.

The news out of the ACT, the third jurisdiction currently in lockdown, was better on Sunday, with just 13 new infections reported and all linked to previous cases.

NSW recorded 1218 cases, with the death toll rising by a further six people to a total 89 in this outbreak.

These deaths included three people in their 80s and three in their 70s. None were fully vaccinated.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian again tried to provide hope for the future, saying the state could reach 70 per cent single-dose vaccination coverage within days, having already surpassed 65 per cent.

"At this stage, the double dose at 70 per cent will give us more freedoms. We expect that to land somewhere during October," Ms Berejiklian told reporters.

But for Victoria, the immediate concern is another extension of its lockdown after recording 92 cases, including more than 30 not yet linked to existing outbreaks.

"We see far too many cases today for us to seriously consider opening up later on this week," Mr Andrews warned.

He was unable to say how long that lockdown could be at this stage.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr was more optimistic about the territory's outlook, saying Canberra is on the path to quashing the outbreak.

But he is wary of another wave hitting the ACT, and how even at the very high levels of vaccination that needed to be reached, there needs to be a careful approach.

He warned that cases in NSW, which surrounds the ACT, could reach 2000 a day.

"Our hope is that the NSW government's more immediate and clear regional lockdowns have a much greater dampening effect on viral spread on the basis that they got into it earlier," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Greg Hunt expects to be able to make the Moderna coronavirus jab available to young Australians as the vaccination program ramps up in coming weeks.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has already given the green light for the Pfizer vaccine to be available for 12-year-olds and above, with bookings to start from September 13.

"This fortnight we're expecting to get advice from the TGA on Moderna for 12- to 17-year-olds ... I'm hopeful that will be added which will give a second vaccine," Mr Hunt told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.

"As additional vaccines come on board, we will make sure that every Australian has the opportunity to be vaccinated at the earliest possible time."

As of Saturday, more than 56 per cent of Australians aged 16 and above had had one jab, while nearly 34 per cent had had two doses.

Under the national COVID-19 recovery plan, the easing of virus restrictions will begin when double-dose vaccinations of 70 and 80 per cent in over 16 year olds have been reached.

Labor's health spokesman Mark Butler believes it would be better if over-12s were included in those targets.

"I have said, as have a number of premiers, that they should be counted as part of the 70-80 per cent threshold," he told ABC's Insiders program.

"If they are eligible for the vaccine, other groups are really only gaining eligibility for Pfizer vaccines now ... what is the argument for not including them. They get the virus, they can get unwell, they can pass it on to other people."

© AAP 2021