Australia’s most populous states have recorded nearly 28,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 39 virus-related deaths.
Victoria reported 21 deaths on Saturday, NSW 14 and Queensland four.
With data yet to be published elsewhere, there are nearly 2,900 patients in hospital with coronavirus nationwide, more than a hundred of them in intensive care.
Meanwhile, a person in NSW has been fined nearly $40,000 for importing thousands of prescription drugs known to be used to treat COVID-19 against clinical advice.
It is alleged that more than 2,500 ivermectin tablets and nearly 10,000 doxycycline capsules were smuggled into the country in a month, far more than allowed.
The Australian medicines regulator has issued 15 infringement notices.
“The individual did not have the authority or exemption to import the drugs, nor did he hold a valid prescription,” the Therapeutic Goods Administration said Friday.
Australian consumers were recently warned by the TGA against counterfeit ivermectin and strongly advised against self-medicating and self-dosing with it.
A British study, published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet last year, also showed that doxycycline, an antibiotic used to treat many different bacterial infections, was ineffective when treating COVID patients.
“Doxycycline treatment has not been associated with clinically meaningful reductions in recovery time or hospital admissions or deaths related to COVID-19, and should not be used as routine treatment for COVID -19″, he concluded.
Elsewhere, telephone voting for Saturday’s federal election has been extended to tens of thousands of people with COVID-19.
Under initial plans, people stuck in solitary confinement on Election Day who tested positive for the virus by 6 p.m. Tuesday were restricted to voting by mail.
But many missed the 6 p.m. application deadline on Wednesday.
It has now been extended to anyone who tested positive after 6 p.m. on May 13, with registration to vote by telephone remaining available until 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers urges people to be prepared when calling and expecting delays, as in some cases staff “will actually read the ballot”.
More than 200,000 Australians are believed to have tested positive for COVID-19 between Saturday and Tuesday, some of whom may have already voted by post and pre-election.
LATEST 24-HOUR COVID-19 DATA:
NSW: 9,632 cases, 14 deaths, 1,187 in hospital including 41 in intensive care
Victoria: 11,925 cases, 21 deaths, 552 in hospital including 25 in intensive care
Queensland: 6,221 cases, four deaths, 420 in hospital, 12 in intensive care
ACT: 859 cases, no deaths, 89 in hospital, three in intensive care
Australian Associated Press