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World News

Coronavirus cluster in Australia's most populous state threatens to slow easing

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s most populous state reported its biggest one-day rise in novel coronavirus infections in more than a month on Thursday as a growing cluster threatens to slow the easing of restrictions.

New South Wales (NSW) said it has detected 12 infections over the previous 24 hours, the biggest one-day jump since Sept. 2, when 17 infections were reported.

The new cases threaten to delay the reopening of the border between NSW and Queensland state, a restriction the federal government wants removed immediately to help revive the country’s ailing economy.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said last week the border would be opened with NSW on Nov. 1, but only if that state went 28 days without any cases that authorities could not trace the source of.

Four of the new infections in New South Wales were found in people in quarantine after returning from abroad and all but one of the new locally acquired infections have been traced.

Palaszczuk said NSW would have to trace all of its infections to avoid a delay of the scheduled border reopening.

Victoria state - the epicentre of Australia’s second wave of coronavirus infections - reported 11 new cases in the past 24 hours, a small increase on the six reported on Wednesday.

Australia has reported more than 27,000 coronavirus infections and about 900 deaths - far fewer than many other developed countries.

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Robert Birsel

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