Australia records first COVID-19 death of 2021

Australia reported its first coronavirus-related death of the year on Sunday.

That also comes with 77 new cases in the state of New South Wales, the highest daily number of cases this year.

The state is currently battling an outbreak of the highly-infectious Delta variant.

Its biggest city Sydney - with a population of 5 million - is already under another hard lockdown.

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she expected case numbers to rise.

"We can't stress enough the importance of not only following the rules but also realising the risk."

"If you don't worry about yourself, that's your decision, but think about your closest family members, your closest people in your life, they are the people who are most impacted."

Of Sunday's cases, 33 were people who had spent time in the community while infectious.

That means that the three-week lockdown in Sydney and its surroundings will likely be extended.

"The length of time of the lockdown is dependent on all of us."

Australia has done much better than other developed countries in keeping its COVID-19 numbers relatively low.

But its vaccination rollout has been sluggish, due to supply constraints and changing medical advice with regard to its shots.

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