Emergency tents go up outside Sydney hospitals amid record COVID-19 cases

Emergency tents go up outside Sydney hospitals amid record COVID-19 cases
© MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Two major hospitals in Australia have set up emergency outdoor tents to combat a surge of patients infected with COVID-19, Reuters reported.

Sydney's Westmead and Blacktown hospitals have put up tents outside their facilities to screen and swab patients for the virus and help the medical centers manage capacity, according to Reuters. The temporary setups will allow the facilities to more efficiently "offload delays," a Western Sydney Local Health District spokesperson told Reuters.

The number of daily new cases in Australia reached 1,000 Thursday for the first time since the pandemic began, and Sydney, the country's largest city, is the current epicenter of the outbreak, Reuters noted. New South Wales state, where Sydney is the capital, reported 1,029 new cases Thursday.

Australia has also seen a lagging vaccination rollout, with only 31 percent of the country fully vaccinated as of Wednesday. Of 116 people in intensive care in New South Wales, 102 are unvaccinated, Reuters reports. 

The news follows thousands of people in Australia taking part in anti-lockdown protests last month after New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that Sydney would be extending its lockdown for the second time. Berejiklian announced earlier this month that residents of New South Wales will face fines of up to $3,700 for violating stay-at-home orders.