Covid ACT: Canberra cluster grows, unlinked school case emerges

Canberra has reported two new Covid cases, after Australia's capital entered a seven-day lockdown at 5pm on Thursday.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr confirmed there are 3,900 close or casual contacts in the ACT and he urged people to only come forward for testing if they have been contacted by health authorities, or if they have symptoms.

On Thursday, more than 2000 tests were conducted in the ACT.

A 14-year-old student from Gold Creek School has tested positive. It is unclear how they got the virus and the case will be included in Saturday's numbers.

Canberra entered a seven day lockdown on Thursday night, after an infectious man was in the community for several days. Source: AAP
Canberra entered a seven-day lockdown on Thursday night, after an infectious man was in the community for several days. Source: AAP

Dr Kerryn Coleman, Chief Health Officer at ACT Health said the student was infectious while at school between Monday and Wednesday.

"We will be treating all staff, students and visitors who were at the Gold Creek school from Monday the ninth to Wednesday the 11th as close contacts," Dr Coleman said.

"This means these individuals will need to go into quarantine immediately for 14 days and do what we are asking everyone to do identified as a close contact, to get test and complete our online form."

Health authorities will also be identifying household contacts as secondary contacts, who also must quarantine.

The other case announced on Friday was a man who was infectious in the community between Sunday and Wednesday.

On Thursday, one positive case triggered the lockdown, a further three cases were reported later in the day, all close contacts of a man who was in the community with the virus for four days.

The total active cases in the ACT stood at six on Friday morning.

ACT to ramp up testing

Mr Barr acknowledged there is “significant” waiting times at testing sites in the ACT amid the outbreak.

“As we work through the exposure sites and parts of the community that are at most risk and have the greatest need to get tested, we will be extending up additional testing capacity,” he said.

“Right now we are asking those who have been contact by ACT health as a close contact and anyone who has symptoms to come forward for testing.

“We understand that there will be many people who are anxious and want to get the peace of mind of a negative test result but the priority right now is to test the close contacts and anyone who has symptoms.’

While authorities are hoping the lockdown will contain the spread of the virus within the community, it is expected there will be an increase in cases in the coming days.

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