Minister's plea as ACT scrambles to find source of mystery cases

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Canberra's coronavirus outbreak has grown to 45 cases as the nation's capital records another 17 infections.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr warns case numbers will likely grow during a three-week lockdown running until September 2.

He has implored people to stay at home and flagged a compliance crackdown on essential businesses allowed to remain open.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr speaks during a press conference in Canberra.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the territory now has 45 active cases of coronavirus. Source: AAP

"We are requiring businesses to take all reasonable steps to ensure that anyone who enters their business gets what they need, and leaves promptly," Mr Barr told reporters on Tuesday.

He was concerned about people loitering around retail outlets without adequate social distancing.

The territory recorded 17 infections following 7380 tests conducted on Monday.

No cases are in hospital and 37 are linked to existing infections.

The other eight, including the ACT's first case in 13 months, remain under investigation.

Among a growing list of exposure sites are the Canberra Institute of Technology Reid and Bruce campuses attended by three people who were infectious.

Transmission is confirmed to have occurred at six settings in Canberra.

These include the city's Fiction nightclub linked to six cases.

Cars form long cues as residents wait to be tested at the EPIC Drive-through COVID19 testing site in Canberra.
Cars queue for Covid testing in Canberra. Source: AAP

Four cases are linked to Lyneham High School, and three each to the Gold Creek School and Downer Community Centre.

No additional cases have emerged at Tuggeranong's Greenway Views village, where an aged care worker did three shifts while infectious.

All residents and every staff member onsite were tested on Monday.

Health authorities are prioritising close contacts for testing amid lengthy queues as more than 7500 people quarantine.

The outbreak casts doubt on the return of federal parliament next Monday, after Mr Barr urged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to consider postponing it.

Parliament House is classified as an essential workplace, meaning it can remain open subject to tight restrictions.

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